IT’S been a record-breaking start to the year, but what awaits the property market in the rest of 2017?

A national estate agents has reported its busiest ever start to a new year, as thousands of Britons put their homes on the market and prepare to get moving.

Property specialist Leaders has revealed a 123 per cent increase in the number of properties for sale coming onto the market in the first week of January in comparison with the average for the second half of 2016.

Kevin Shaw, national sales director at Leaders, says: “It’s been a hectic opening to 2017 with so many people looking to make a fresh start in a new home. A 123 per cent rise in the number of new properties we are able to offer to the market is unprecedented.

“This is great news for the market as more available properties inevitably sparks a surge in demand.“Indeed, we have already seen more requests for viewings from prospective buyers than we did in the latter part of last year, emphasising the market’s strong start to 2017.”

With a strong start to the year secured, Leaders has made three predictions for the property market throughout the rest of 2017.

What lies in store for the property market in 2017?

• A stable, growing sales market Whether people are thinking of selling or buying in 2017, they can do so with confidence. Leaders expects a spike in sales activity in the first quarter of the year and a period of stability and consistent price rises to follow. In total, house prices are likely to increase by about two per cent this year.

Kevin adds: “People who are not in a rush may wish to wait and see how Article 50 and the UK’s subsequent exit from the EU plays out, but in the main I would expect the vast majority to take advantage of a period of stability and make their move early in the year.

“Another consideration is the potential ban on tenant fees, which could push up monthly rents for tenants. The likely result of this is that buying will become even more attractive and more people will aim to purchase their own home.”

• More challenges - and great rewards - for investment landlords Several new pieces of legislation - including last year’s introduction of an additional stamp duty for landlords and the imminent reduction of mortgage interest tax relief - will make the buy-to-let market a tougher place for investors.

Nonetheless, the rewards of investing in property will remain as attractive as ever, with rising rental income, high tenant demand and excellent capital growth prospects continuing to define the market.

Allison Thompson, managing director at Leaders, says: “Changes to tax relief will have an impact on many landlords, particularly those with higher mortgage leveraging. But the additional costs resulting from this should be weighed up against ongoing low interest rates on borrowing and a positive outlook on capital growth, so I expect most landlords to retain their investments and enjoy great results.”

• Surge in first-time buyers to continue 2016 saw more first-time buyers get on the property ladder than any year since 2006 - and Leaders expects this trend to continue this year.

Allison explains: “High employment levels across the country, record low mortgage rates and schemes such as Help to Buy have created ideal conditions for first-time buyers. Although many still require a large deposit to get on the ladder, it is becoming easier to buy a home and we believe the 2016 figure could be topped in 2017.”

For more information or advice on selling, letting, buying or renting in 2017, contact your local Leaders branch or visit