People continue to ask for my take on property prices and the housing market, Will there be a drop in prices? Is now a good time to buy or should I wait? Should I make a crazy low offer?
If you are looking to buy a house to reside in then this is usually a very emotional thing, if you find a house you love then the timing and the market is usually the second thing you think of. This house could be your home for years and over these many years its not unusual to see a few ups and downs in prices. A swing of a few % isn't going to make a massive difference long term. So, if it's the right house now, then my advice is to always go for it and pre prepare to negotiate a price you're comfortable paying and a mortgage that is affordable.
Quoting Zoopla data, sales were up by 137% since the market re-opened on May 13th and 54% up on pre-lockdown levels. This was backed up with analysis from TwentyCi, a market statistics firm, which said that 24,341 homes were sold subject to contract in the first week of June, up from 22,880 a year earlier.
There was also a strong increase in demand in some rural areas. Being cooped up in flats or homes with small gardens may have given byers more need for green space and fresh air. People have got used to not going to town, shoppig centres and busy high streets. Lockdown life has definitely turned me into an avid gardener (or a wannabe one at least). I think a lot of us hvave adapted to a new, more relaxed pace of life that maybe the countryside and rural areas offer compared to built up towns and cities.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor has provided a more subtle view of the housing market. The net balance for new buyer enquiries jumped from -94% in April, when the market went into deep freeze, to -5% in May. According to Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the RICS: "Following the reopening of the housing market in England, pre-COVID sales that were in the pipeline are now largely going through. This is encouraging but it remains to be seen how sustained this improvement will prove.."
Official figures on June 12th revealed that the economy contracted by more than 20% in April and a combined 25% in March and April together. One would hope that both the housing market and the economy can bounce back in the coming months but be prepared for a prolonged hangover, particularly in the job market and more so the hospitality industry.
Currently, 11.5 million people are being supported by government schemes, mainly the furloughing scheme, which encompasses nearly 9m people. We do expect more redundancies to follow once these furlough schemes end.
As Rubinsohn of RICS puts it: "Much will inevitably depend on the macro environment and, in particular, the resilence of the jobs market as the furlough scheme unwinds. For the time being respondents to the survey see the trend in transactions being broadly flat."
From a Mortgage and Lending point of view I am massively positive for a busy end to 2020, Lenders do want to lend and have money to lend. Yes, some 90% and 95% deals have come and gone but this is mainly due to service and staffing levels rather than lender and market confidence. As long as we avoid a 2nd wave, I feel more lenders will return to the higher loan to value market and affordability tests and rules will go back to pre-lockdown levels for the majority of lenders. Buy to Let lenders are already starting to come back to the table with more rates and higher LTV products.
Regarding property prices, ask me at the end of 2020 but I think if we look back in December my educated guess would be house prices would have increased by around 1% compared to the same time last year!
Everything points to a positive end to the year and we are more than equipped to help all types of clients be it First Time Buyers or Professional Landlords looking to expand their portfolio's.
From us at Simmonds Mortgage Services, stay safe and sane and speak soon!
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