Market Comment

Added on 31 August 2018

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.

At Thorntons over the last 3 months sales volumes have increased by 16% compared to last year confirming that there are many buyers out there.

Certainly, we expect to see more activity in the first time buyer sector for the foreseeable future, 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 recent statistics, the average time from agreeing a sale to completion is 12 weeks, and it typically takes an average of eight weeks to find a buyer although a lot of homes are selling faster than this due to the number of buyers in the market.  

As ever, correct pricing is the key, over pricing deters buyers from visiting the property and by the time this is adjusted you have missed the optimum period for selling your home for the maximum value.

So if you are thinking about moving, why not give us a call on 03330 430090.

Peter Ryder

Managing Director

Thorntons Property

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