Historically, the fresh green leaves on the trees and the warmth of the welcome spring sunshine herald a spring in the step for the property market. And this year seems no different, despite its wobbly start! The fundamentals are certainly there to support an optimistic outlook – inflation has fallen to a healthy 2.3% and unemployment is at its lowest for 40 years.
The initial economic upset following the Brexit referendum appears to have “washed through” and global growth is also booming. Wage growth is at its highest for two-and-a-half years and people are clearly confident about their personal finances – a key component when considering a house move. In fact, they are potentially so confident that it looks like the Bank of England might just keep this in check by considering a rise in interest rates next month. But don’t worry – any increase is likely to be relatively insignificant for most home-movers.
You may have read that house price growth has been slowing. This is true – but note that prices are still rising, just not quite so strongly as previously, with national averages being dragged down by the tighter London market. The rate of growth has remained below 5% per annum since the beginning of last year, with the average price now standing at £225,000 (London £472,000). Rightmove figures indicate increasingly strong buyer interest, but with a subdued rate of annual asking price increase, suggesting buyers are increasingly price sensitive. This is borne out by the fact that the number of viewings per property is on the rise too (up from 11 last year to 19 today according to one survey, although we find it generally takes nowhere near that number of viewings before we receive an offer).
Perhaps we therefore have as near to a balanced, “normal”, market as can be expected, although we still have far more buyers than properties to sell. Can you help?? If you are contemplating a move – somewhere bigger, smaller, quieter or more convenient, now would be an excellent time to take advantage of the spring market. Why not call us for a friendly no-obligation chat as we’d love to help you move.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA MIRPM
Chief Executive Officer