Busiest ever start to the year

Rightmove has recorded its busiest ever start to a new year, with visits to the site up 30 per cent on the same time period in 2020.

There are very early signs of activity continuing to grow during lockdown, with over six million daily visits to the site on January 6 and 7, according to the property portal.

People contacting estate agents about a property to buy is 11 per cent higher than at the start of 2020, and those enquiring about a property to rent is up by 22 per cent.

The impending end to the stamp duty holiday, more people re-evaluating where they live and the housing market staying open have all contributed to the rise.

Rightmove’s director of property data, Tim Bannister, says: “January is usually one of our busiest months of the year as people start to make new year plans to move.

“This was the case at the start of last year when we also had the post-election bounce that gave hope of an active spring market, before that all changed with the temporary closure from March until May.

“We didn’t know how this year would start with so much change and uncertainty around restrictions, but it’s been reassuring for those people hoping or needing to move that the demand we’ve seen so far is the highest we’ve ever had in January.

“The housing market has been allowed to stay open during these latest lockdowns and agents have already spent months working in a Covid-secure way and creating a number of property videos.

“Buyers and renters starting out on their search this year will find that, alongside the safe viewing protocols, more agents are offering virtual viewings to help buyers and renters better shortlist the properties they want to go and see.”