October saw a further dip in property valuations in the UK, latest research shows

Taylor Scott International News

The UK housing market has now cooled following a pick-up in valuations activity in September with October seeing the total number of valuations fall by 20%, new data shows. However, on an annual basis, housing market activity decreased by 10%, an improvement from a slightly steeper fall of 12% over the 12 months to September 2014, according to the latest report from Connells Survey & Valuation. ‘While the housing market is now less animated than in September, the slowdown is broadly in line with seasonal expectations and is not an alarm bell. On average, we have seen a 16% drop from September to October every year since 2010,’ said the firm’s Corporate Services Director. But he pointed out that beyond seasonal factors, there are other things contributing to this slowdown. ‘The introduction of stricter policies designed to restrain uncontrolled growth and protect against a return to the property bubble of 2008 have tempered the housing market. For instance the recent loan to income cap which came into force in October seems to have had a considerable impact,’ he explained. ‘We may see a further seasonal lull in the housing market as we approach the holiday season. And looking further ahead, the General Election in May 2015 is also likely to bring increased caution with the prospect of policy uncertainty,’ he added. The research report also shows that buy to let performed the strongest with a noticeably small annual dip of 7% compared to the rest of the market. Even on a month on month basis this section of the housing market did better than the others with the smallest drop of 17% since September. ‘Buy to let was the strongest performing sector in a clear indication that lenders are focusing on low risk investors as a result of increased regulation. Policies like loan to income caps have introduced stricter lending rules but crucially do not apply to the buy to let sector. There are now an array of competitive rates out there, especially on low LTVs,’ said Bagshaw. First time buyer valuations made up almost a third of total activity in October but the number of valuations for first time buyers was still down 18% compared to the previous month, and 11% lower on an annual basis. Other owner occupiers moving home saw a month on month dip of 21%, as well as the biggest annual drop of 16% compared to October 2013. ‘While Help to Buy has supported many first time buyers to get on the property ladder, other new policies have introduced fresh limits to promote responsible lending. These new caps seem to have affected first time buyers and home movers the most,’ Bagshaw said. ‘The impact of Stamp Duty on buyers is also not to be ignored. Though it has been a permanent feature of the housing market for a while, the prospect of a hefty tax bill… Continue reading →

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