House Prices

So, one of the hot topics in the property world at the moment is the latest statistics relating to house prices.

The Halifax have reported that prices are rising at their fastest annual pace for more than three years.

They say prices rose by 0.3% in September, the eighth consecutive monthly increase, resulting in an average figure of £170,733. The lender’s annual growth figure, which compares quarterly averages year-on-year, showed a 6.2% rise – the highest annual rate since June 2010.

Prices remain some way off the peak of £199,612 recorded by the index in August 2007, but a background of low interest rates, improving consumer confidence and government schemes such as Help to Buy and Funding for Lending, are stoking demand.

The lack of available homes has also contributed to the upward march in house prices, with demand outstripping supply in recent months.

So, reason to be happy, or not? Whilst it’s great to see confidence in the housing market return, our view is that this needs to be tempered by realism from both buyers and sellers if we are to avoid the problems of the past.

Putting it into context, Shelter have said this week that if food prices had risen at the same rate as house prices, a whole chicken would cost £51.18, and if that was the case, I guess we’d all be in trouble- or vegetarians!

So what are we seeing at the coalface? It’s been an interesting year so far, with the pendulum swinging away from a buyer’s market, and much more towards a seller’s market. The issue we then have is that sellers are being far more bullish with their expectations and although there is plenty of demand from buyers, they are still being cautious. The last five years cannot be forgotten in a blink of an eye after all!

We are seeing lots of people keen to move but not being prepared to offer their house on the market for fear of finding a buyer quickly but not finding anything to move to. We believe there is a bottleneck forming, with a chronic lack of supply in the market, which we expect will ease going into the early part of 2014. If this is the case, then we may find a more equal measure of supply & demand which will hopefully keep values on an even keel. Too much demand and too little supply causes spikes in values which aren’t good for anyone. So our advice for all those who have been keen to move home in the past few years but have watched from the sidelines, is to take that leap of faith and go for it in 2014. If you all did this then we could see a return to sensible trading conditions, and the return of the ‘discretionary mover’, a phenomenon we haven’t seen since 2007!

If you are thinking of moving, or require any property advice, contact me on 01483 405222, or cdean@chantries.net (ideally before 6pm please!)

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