Affordability in the UK property makret
An article concerning the present condition of the UK property market and the impact of current house prices on those trying to move up the property ladder. Includes actual examples of house prices in the East of England
This week, yet again, we have seen much in the nation press about the collapse of house prices, for sure we are seeing a dramatic correction to pricing levels that allow affordability of purchase. I suspect having considered the economic background of the worlds economy and factoring in the UK’s squeeze on the availability and amount of credit available to would be borrowers that the correction in house prices is for the time being long term. This is not to say that purchased housing will never again increase in value, of course it will, inflation sees to that but for those would be sellers taking the approach of sitting on their hands in the hope that prices will bounce back to the recent pasts high’s do so perhaps in vain.
For sure the home owner, my self included, that felt reasonably secure with the paper wealth (equity) that had been accumulated draws no pleasure whatsoever seeing a substantial amount of said equity dissipate, that said of course no ones home reduces value in isolation and as around 95% of sellers buy on simultaneously it is the affordability and value between the two transactions that should be the key focus.
Many homes owners who have been on the property ladder for around 25 years will remember that the cost of moving up the ladder and obtaining the extra bedroom used to be around £25,000 to undertake the same move in 2007 would have been around £125,000 - £150,000 and growing, clearly a mammoth financial jump which simply became unaffordable unsurprisingly for the majority of the UK population.
With banks and building societies returning overnight to sensible and considered lending criteria, perhaps in hindsight which they should have done some years ago or better still not even strayed down the path of such bullish lending in the first place, the property sales market has and still is experiencing a significant correction.
The good news is that we do have clear signs appearing that affordability is starting to return, I stress, starting to return, I state this as the vast majority of sellers still need to listen to their estate agent when it comes to pricing and bite the bullet and reduce to a pricing level that attracts buyers attention, generates viewers, if you do this you will be rewarded with a sale.
A quick wiz round the Howards Norwich Estate Agents website shows that we now have 47 freehold houses in Norwich priced between £90,000 - £120,000, similarly a search for freehold houses in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth between £80,000 - £100,000 shows over 100 properties. Looking at some of the properties thrown up by this search which includes what looks like an exceptionally well priced Norwich North City walk in terrace house at £115,000, it seems to me that we indeed do already have a great deal of housing that is attractively priced at levels local buyers can afford or that buy to let investors can achieve acceptable returns.
The other bit of good news is that we are starting to see some lenders reducing mortgage interest rates, Halifax for instance did this last week. At my own firm, Howards, we have over 2,000 registered buyers on our database so if this is conversant with other estate agency companies buyer registers the outlook is improving, all we need is for more sellers to accept the realism of the market position and buyers to start viewing, simple!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martin Cunningham MNAEA
Director Howards Estate Agency
Chairman Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents