Zoopla’s Hometrack data research arm says the start of 2020 has seen buyer demand up 26 per cent compared to the same periods of 2018 and 2019.
On top of that, the annual level of house price growth across major UK cities has hit a two year high of 3.9 per cent.
The portal says that traditionally, buyers return to the housing market in the first weeks of the New Year; 2020 has proved no different.
But Zoopla’s analysis found buyer demand in the first weeks of 2020 (from December 23 to January 19) 2019 – 19th January to be 26 per cent higher than the same four-week period in 2019 and 2018.
And with the exception of Belfast, every major UK city recorded an increase in demand from buyers over this time.
Cities in the Midlands and north of England have recorded the strongest interest from buyers so far this year, with Sheffield, Leeds and Leicester recording above average increases in buyer interest, at up to 20 per cent higher than the average.
Richard Donnell, the portal’s research and insight director, says: “This is partially due to fading political uncertainty; households who were holding off moving are now starting to return to the market and this momentum has been supported by low mortgage rates.
“The cities with more affordable house prices, such as Sheffield and Leeds, have seen the greatest increase in buyer demand as house hunters continue to focus on value for money this year.”
Looking ahead, Nottingham - where house price inflation is currently running at 5.2 per cent - is ranked as the strongest prospect for house price growth this year.
Edinburgh and Glasgow are ranked second and third respectively. House prices are currently sitting at an average of £242,200 in the Scottish capital and the rate of price growth in the 12 months to December 2019 was recorded at 6.1 per cent here.
Cities in the south of England, such as Southampton, Oxford and London are expected to see house price growth underperform the average this year
This is predominantly due to affordability constraints in these areas following strong house price growth between 2010 and 2016.
Whilst London ranks 16th in the Zoopla analysis, sales volumes are expected to rise faster than prices as buyer confidence improves, boosting sales rather than price levels.