Uncertainty may be holding back home buyers but there signs of stability in the market, says ALAN CUMMING
With all of the volatility we’ve seen in the housing and mortgage markets in recent months, it’s understandable that many people are still a little unsure as whether the time is right to start looking for their next or first home. House prices still at relatively high levels and mortgage rates have risen quite substantially during the year, so the situation probably feels a little uncertain. In reality, there are some reasons for optimism.
Firstly, we know that the rate of inflation is falling, albeit not quite as fast as we’d all want. Secondly, for the first time in what seems like forever, this month the Bank of England held interest rates at their current levels. We’ve also seen a wide range of major lenders beginning to offer better mortgage deals.
In terms of house prices, the latest figures from the Registers of Scotland showed that prices in Scotland had risen by 3.2% in the year to May. However, more recent figures from the Halifax highlighted a 0.7% fall in Scottish house prices in the past year.
So it seems, on the face of it, that we may well be entering a period of stability and that is certainly good news for home buyers.
Of course, the process of buying a new home, particularly for first time buyers, can be complex and a little stressful and doing so, for most, will be the biggest financial decision they will ever make.
In the current climate, one area that could be of growing interest to potential buyers could be that
of new build homes. In fact, it’s fair to say that we are seeing an increasing number of people talking our both our estate agency colleagues and independent mortgage brokers about the options that might be available to them in this area.
The negotiations and agreeing a price for a home only add to the challenge and this is where the prospect of buying a new build property comes into its own. Buying a new build brings considerable benefits which can ease at least some of the issues you might face when purchasing an established property.
To start with, for a large number of buyers, buying a new a new build might be the only way they can afford to get on the property ladder. Over the years various schemes such as Help to Buy have provided the necessary boost to help them achieve their dreams.
Furthermore, among the most significant benefits of a new build is that the price is fixed from the outset. Not having to haggle, unsurprisingly, is very desirable. Knowing the price in advance also means you can accurately budget and you’ll know that amount of deposit required.
Of course, new build properties aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and there are definite benefits that
come from buying established properties. For example, if it’s not something that concerns you too much, then negotiations can be an exciting part of the process or even in some cases bring a lower price. Additionally, older homes can, in many cases, offer a certain charm or location which you can’t obtain elsewhere.
Whatever your preference, and despite the headlines, there are certainly options for home buyers, so if you have been holding off, now might be a good time to start a conversation with your local property and mortgage experts.
Alan Cumming is national estate agency director at Aberdein Considine