After high levels of publicity for Zoopla and Boomin in recent weeks, Rightmove has struck back with figures suggesting it’s enjoyed its busiest ever January.
Visits to the site last month were up 39 per cent on January 2020 and time spent on Rightmove soared 44 per cent.
The total of prospective buyers contacting agents was up seven per cent on January last year, and those enquiring about a property to rent rose 14 per cent.
The number of sales agreed in January was up by five per cent year-on-year, despite the fact the majority will not complete in time to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline.
New listings for sale are down 21 per cent - the portal says this is driven by challenges such as homeschooling, which may be delaying people thinking about moving.
The record-breaking start seen in the first few days of the month was sustained across all of January, with Rightmove recording over 211 million visits from home-movers, a record for this time of year.
But the proportion of sales that fell through in January was seven per cent higher than in January last year - an early sign of some deals falling through because buyers and sellers realise they won’t have time to meet the stamp duty holiday deadline.
“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” explains Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister.
“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.
“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.”