Rightmove enjoyed its busiest January on record as visits to the property platform jumped nearly 40 per cent with many buyers seemingly undeterred by the approaching end of the stamp duty holiday.
However, the firm said there had been a seven per cent increase in sale fall-throughs as buyers realised they do not have the time to meet the impending 31 March stamp duty deadline.
Rightmove director of property data Tim Bannister said fall throughs had started to “creep up…though not by a substantial amount”.
Bannister said it is “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 time customers spent on Rightmove’s website soared 44 per cent last month with over 211m visits, as the number of agreed sales increased by five per cent despite most buyers being unable to beat the stamp duty deadline of 31 March.
The number of prospective buyers contacting estate agents was up seven per cent in comparison to last January.
Rental enquiries jumped 14 per cent as real estate agents offered more online viewing options.
Meanwhile, separate figures from estate agent Chestertons showed a 12 per cent rise in property purchases in comparison to January last year – and nearly 50 per cent more than December.
The agency also reported that 28 per cent more deals were finalised than in January 2020.
However, lockdown measures have discourages many would-be buyers as it saw new-buyer registration drop 23 per cent.
Guy Gittins, the managing director at Chestertons, said: “The extraordinary amount of buyer interest we saw towards the end of last year is still converting into record levels of agreed sales as people are pushing hard to get the purchase completed as soon as possible in order to take advantage of the stamp duty saving and to enable them to adapt to the current circumstances.”