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House price growth in the UK may be falling but last month saw a rebound in valuations activity on a monthly basis, according to the latest research from Connells Survey & Valuation. The total number of valuations conducted in September increased by 42% compared to August. However, this was not enough of a seasonal rebound to take valuations volumes ahead of September 2013. On an annual basis, housing market activity has decreased by 12%, a steeper fall than the 4% annual drop seen in August 2014. ‘Sustainability is the new watchword for the housing market. Higher interest rates are getting closer and caps on mortgage to income ratios officially come into force in October, both closely following the Mortgage Market Review which has now become a settled feature of the landscape,’ said John Bagshaw. ‘In particular a base rate rise isn’t just a factor for the financial world. In the property market, buyers and sellers are increasingly factoring in slightly higher interest costs and a potential slowdown in house price growth,’ he added. He pointed out that steadier progress isn’t necessarily bad news. ‘Autumn last year was exceptionally good for housing market activity. Now, as the UK searches for a long lost measure of normality, the housing market is displaying sensible levels of caution, a healthy and often life-preserving characteristic. Stability will be important as activity keeps growing into 2015,’ he explained. Remortgaging was the strongest performing of all sections of the housing market in September. Compared to August remortgaging activity is up 57%, leaving remortgaging valuations down 9% since September 2013, the smallest annual fall. According to Bagshaw remortgaging levels appear to reflect the wisdom of crowds. ‘Most people don’t follow the detailed workings of monetary policy, and no-one can predict inflation or UK growth in six months’ time. And yet households are taking advantage of cheaper mortgage rates now, as the perception grows that locking in to that market will not be possible for ever,’ he added. First time buyers have seen the second fastest monthly pick up in activity since August, up 39% on a monthly basis. On an annual basis, this leaves first time buyer activity down 13% compared to September 2013. Activity was slightly more muted for those owner-occupiers moving home further up the property ladder, with such home mover activity up 32% compared to August. However on an annual basis the number of home mover valuations has seen the same 13% drop as first time buyers since September 2013. Bagshaw believes that first time buyers are proving unwavering and many are now ready and determined to buy their first home after putting off the move for many years due to the financial crisis. ‘Alongside this sheer number of potential home owners, lenders are increasingly playing their part and are even more willing to back new buyers, partly thanks to Help to Buy. The overall result is a consistent buoyancy… Continue reading →
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