REBECCA EATON says there signs of movement in the residential property market
Ever since the chaotic mini budget of last year the housing market has been sluggish at best and at times almost at a standstill. The decisions made by the then UK Prime Minister and the Chancellor resulted in a huge negative reaction from the markets and a significant rise in interest rates, and in turn mortgage rates.
With many people having got used to mortgage rates of one or two percent potential buyers were looking at rates of four, five and six percent.
On top of rising inflation and a growing cost of living crisis it’s unsurprising that those either looking to buy for the first time or move home suffered a crisis of confidence and the knock-on effect for the housing market was clear for all to see.
However, whilst it’s true that interest rates have risen considerably, it’s also fair to say they have to some degree settled down and we have seen an increasing number of lenders offering a range of competitive mortgage deals.
In addition, although house prices have indeed been rising at a pace in recent months and years, sometimes perception overtakes the true picture.
At a local level we have seen many more properties selling at or under the market valuation. A clear indication that the market is moving.
Both of these factors put first time and other buyers in a much stronger position than they might have been a few months ago, and it creates an opportunity for them to explore the market with a genuine expectation they could well afford to buy.
Renewed buyer confidence is real and is gaining some momentum and there is plenty of evidence of this upturn in activity.
In Edinburgh we’ve seen the highest number of sales agreed in March in any given month since we opened our estate agency office some 10 years ago. Furthermore, we’ve also enjoyed the highest number of viewings in any given month during March.
Some properties are now beginning to achieve similar levels to that seen over the last couple of years but it remains the case that in many properties are selling at home report or slightly under.
Good news for potential buyers.
The housing market is not an exact science and we will always have periods of high and low activity – the reopening of the market following the initial Covid closure saw some quite astonishing sales activity right across the country.
The last few years have seen the Edinburgh market experience an acute shortage of stock and that is still the case today, and that applies at all levels of the market.
The combination of this shortage, and growing confidence will likely mean that prices will again begin to rise.
With lenders also showing an appetite to return with new and competitive deals, now could be an ideal time for anyone interested in buying a home to start looking at the market again.
So if you are searching for a new home or even your first, that dream property might just be more attainable than you think.
Rebecca Eaton is deputy branch manager, Aberdein Considine, Edinburgh
This column is supported by Aberdein Considine