Phone calls to estate agents and letting agents to request property viewings surged in January, up by almost 71% on December.
The huge increase was recorded by specialist phone-answering company Moneypenny, which handles more than 1.2m calls per year on behalf of estate and letting agents in the UK.
Huge Rise in Property Viewings Requests from Potential Buyers and Tenants
Comparatively, last year, there was a 32.5% rise in January.
At the start of this year, there was a greater increase in calls requesting viewings from potential buyers than those from prospective tenants. Calls from purchasers rose by 77.6% compared with a 57% increase in renters.
Moneypenny’s Samantha Jones explains the figures: “We typically see a rise in viewing requests in January, but this year we anticipated that figure would increase.
“With major advertising campaigns run by portals like Rightmove and Zoopla over the Christmas period, as well as the April 1st Stamp Duty deadline looming, there have been a number of factors that could have acted as a catalyst for those looking to buy.”
From 1st April, buy-to-let landlords and second homebuyers will be charged an extra 3% in Stamp Duty on properties worth over £40,000. It is believed that this forthcoming tax change is leading to a rush of investors in the market, which is fuelling house price growth.
Moneypenny also analysed calls for Monday 4th January, which is labelled Divorce Day. On this day in 2016, there was a 53.9% increase in calls regarding rental properties, compared with the average on the three Mondays in December.
Jones comments: “There are of course a number of reasons why people could have been calling their estate or letting agent on this specific day.
“However, we do know from speaking to agents that many received a higher level of calls prompted by relationship breakdowns than they would normally receive on a typical Monday.
“This was echoed by our legal team, who saw a 106% rise in family law calls on the same day.”1