As we move from a scorching summer to a cooler autumn, will the property market return to “normal”? Certainly the latest HMRC figures indicate a positive outlook, with a 0.3% increase in the number of transactions over last year. That’s not bad considering increased political uncertainty and two interest rate hikes.
Transaction volumes are currently the most reliable indicator of the state of the property market, not prices, although these have risen by a not-unhealthy 3% over the past year (HMRC). It looks like the number of transactions will approach 2.2million nationally in 2018, which is still much more than the years following the 2008 credit crunch, when it took five years before the number rose over a million.
Certainly, we expect to see more activity in the first time buyer sector, for two reasons: firstly, according to the latest Ministry of Housing report, nearly 4,000 buy-to-let properties are being sold by landlords each month, resulting in the first decline in rental property availability for 18 years. The problem is most acute in London, which has seen a 20% drop in the number of rental properties in the past year. This will inevitably push up rents further, meaning that buying is seen as a more cost-effective option to renting.
Secondly, some mortgage lenders are relaxing their criteria for first time buyers, with an increase in the both number of 95% mortgages and 35-year terms.
Confidence levels are improving once again, as many people start to think about moving by Christmas. If this is you, then you’d better get your skates on as, according to Rightmove, the average time from agreeing a sale to completion is 13 weeks, and it typically takes an average of eight weeks to find a buyer.
As ever, correct pricing is the key, especially as there is 2.1% more stock available than there was a month ago. Rightmove reports that average asking prices of new-to-market properties have seen a seasonal reduction of 2.3% over last month, as late summer sellers seek to find a buyer quickly.
So if you are thinking about moving, why not give us a buzz our contact details can be found here, as we can usually provide you with an idea of value, timing and confidence level within 48 hours.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA MIRPM
Chief Executive Officer