Visitors are spending more time looking for their dream home too, as time spent on the website rose 44 per cent to 1.6 billion minutes. Saturday 30 January was the busiest period for the month, as 60 million minutes were spent collectively browsing for properties.
Some seven per cent more buyers contacted estate agents through Rightmove when compared to last year. Rightmove said this suggested despite warnings that transactions started in January would not meet the stamp duty holiday deadline, buyers were still willing to proceed with moves.
There were fewer properties to choose from, however, as new listings were down 21 per cent. Rightmove said it was likely that challenges such as lockdown restrictions and homeschooling were delaying decisions to move.
Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “It’s clear that more people than ever before used the new year as a chance to start thinking about moving home, despite all of the challenges and worries that came with January, but we are seeing the effect of lockdown on the number of properties coming to market.
“I know first-hand how hard it is right now to juggle your work commitments with also trying to teach your kids their times tables, so those looking to trade-up to a bigger home may find there isn’t as much choice as before in this sector of the market until kids start going back to school.”
Bannister added: “We’re starting to see fall throughs creep up a bit, though not by a substantial amount, a sign that some deals may be falling apart as they know they won’t complete in time to make the stamp duty holiday deadline, though this is likely to be in the groups set to make more substantial savings.
“The start of February so far looks encouraging for activity, which points to some positive signs for the next few months and into Q2.”