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Average property price estimates reveal an intriguing picture

In the world of surveying, common questions abound and are always being asked. ‘What is going to happen to UK house prices?’ tends to be the most common and the most general, and the answer is always, ‘We just don’t know’.

The future is not yet written and a valuation is always taken at a moment in time, and is always likely to be different at each moment.

However, what we do have as a business is a clear view on what has happened and a raft of data to give us an idea of the direction of travel that we have seen, and by viewing this, you’re likely to gain further info to form an opinion on where the market might be going next.

To that end, we recently collated average house price data for all the regions we have been active in over the last 14 months. From October 2020, for all English regions plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we can track the average property value based on the estimate sent to us by the lender concerned when they instruct us.

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The product used is our standard mortgage valuation and all lenders/firms/surveyors are included in our data. That final point is worth emphasising – it is our data and is unique to us, but it by no means covers every single transaction that has taken place during that time and should therefore be treated in that context.

It may however outline where house prices have come from, where they most recently arrived at, when they might have peaked (if they have done), although again this does not mean we can suddenly predict what might happen in the future.

To start with, let’s look at the average estimated price for the UK as a whole – back in October 2020, according to our data, this was just over £305,000, however by December 2021 this had increased to just over £337,500, representing a 10.5% increase.

I suspect there are few shocks to be had in reading this. Most of the house price indices – and we are certainly not a sector short of these – will have reported along similar lines during the period, with average increases being in the region of 8-10% for the average UK property.

Of course, this is a notional property in and of itself, and the UK is incredibly regionalised in terms of what happens to prices. Our data, as mentioned, is broken down into 11 regions, and over the same time period (October 2020-December 2021) it may surprise you to learn that the region with the highest inflation is Greater London.

It has gone from an average price of just shy of £590,000 to £718,000, representing close to a 22% increase. In much of the other house price data I have seen, certainly central London prices appear not to have increased by anywhere near the same levels as other regions; in fact it tends to be quite lower. However, this is a greater London region which might go some way to showing why it’s a heftier increase.

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Conversely, it is the North East which currently sits bottom of our inflationary table, up only 0.8% over the period from just over £232,000 to £234,000.

Again, this appears to go against the grain slightly in terms of regions deemed to have seen bigger inflationary rises. From what I have seen, the larger increases appear to have been in regions such as Wales, the North, Scotland, etc.

Our data shows double-digit house price inflation in Wales (15.14%), the North West (12.84%), Scotland (11.39%), and Northern Ireland (10.96%), while the East Midlands (9.14%) and East of England (8.91%) are not too far behind either.

The rest of our regions are made up of the South East (7.16%), the South West (5.9%), and the West Midlands (2.05%).

Again, these figures might be surprising to some, but at the top end of the scale, they certainly seem to be in keeping with many other indices and the ‘mood music’ around what prices are doing.

Interestingly, during the time period, only one region – Scotland – had its peak average price in the last month covered, December 2021. All others had ‘peaked’ prior to that – one region in September 2021, seven in October 2021, and three others in November 2021.

That seems interesting in itself, given the stamp duty holiday finished in England at the end of September 2021 and yet prices continued to peak after that.

Admittedly, they have now come off that peak and may continue to do so. It’s therefore entirely plausible that house prices might plateau during the rest of the year, or merely inch up again following that slight drop-off.

What we can say is that the UK continues to suffer from a shortage of property supply, coupled with strengthening demand which looks unlikely to peter out. Lenders want to lend, many people want to move/buy, and they outstrip the current property numbers available.

This basic law of economics tends to see prices, at the very least, trending slightly upwards. It will be interesting to see if this is how the market does play out through the year ahead and we will certainly review the data we collect to track its progress.

By Simon Jackson

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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ONS: UK house prices rose by 10.2% in the year

UK average house prices rose by 10.2% in the year to March 2021, the highest annual growth rate seen since August 2007, according to the ONS House Price Index.

This is up from the 9.2% increase seen in the year to February 2021.

Average house prices rose by the greatest margin in Wales, up 11% to £185,000, followed by a 10.6% uplift in Scotland to £167,000.

England noted a 10.2% increase to £275,000 and UK average house prices rose by 6% to £149,000 in Northern Ireland.

London continues to be the region with the lowest annual growth (3.7%) for the fourth consecutive month.

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle, said: “We’re continuing to see house prices grow month-on-month, suggesting that the market remains buoyant and demand is high as a result of the stamp duty holiday.

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“With this in mind, it’s important for buyers in the home buying process to be aware that the increased demand has caused inflated prices.

“First-time buyers are now paying up to £73,000 more than last year to get on to the property ladder.

“This has also caused delays in completion times and it now takes up to 171 days to purchase a property in the UK.”

Cloe Atkinson, managing director of Mortgage Engine, added: “A year ago, activity in the property market remained almost entirely suspended as the UK continued to endure its first lockdown.

“In contrast, 2021 has so far proved a stellar year for house price growth. The busy start to this year reflects the success of various government measures to stimulate demand in the market, as well as the hard work carried out by the property industry to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and adapt to new ways of doing business.

“The mortgage industry has adopted new technology at an unprecedented rate, increasing efficiency and unlocking new ways of working.

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“As the UK cautiously moves to relax its pandemic restrictions, its vital that the property sector doesn’t leave behind the spirit of innovation that’s carried it through the last year.

“Now is the time for the industry to increase its investment in tech and continue to evolve to meet the challenges of the post-pandemic period.”

Martin Stewart, director of London Money, added: “Even though the mania around the stamp duty holiday has waned, we are entrenched in a market with too many buyers chasing too few properties.

“We have witnessed a lot more chains falling down recently, maybe because buyers have offered on multiple properties in order to secure something, anything.

“We have also detected a significant stretching of the truth from prospective buyers whose stories about being “a cash buyer” or “chain-free” collapse quicker than a Jenga tower.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Average Price of Property Coming to Market Jumps 2.1%

The national average price of property coming to market has hit a new all-time high of £327,797, following a 2.1%, or +£6,733, monthly increase. 145,000 properties were newly marketed this month, with the number of sales agreed up by 55% on the same period two years ago, reducing the stock of properties that are available to buy to the lowest proportion ever recorded

Barrows and Forrester managing director James Forrester, said: “A record-breaking month on many fronts with asking prices increasing at an incredible rate, as a heightened level of demand pushes property values ever higher. This price growth is also being driven by a lack of available stock, particularly second stepper suitable two and three-bed homes. In fact, you’d have an easier time finding a straight-talking politician than you would a decent three up, three down in current market conditions.”

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Benhham and Reeves director of Marc von Grundherr, said: “The top end of the market is driving current performance with the strongest rates of house price growth and, unlike the regular market, this train is unlikely to come off the tracks when the stamp duty holiday expires. While a considerable cash saving in stamp duty tax is nice, it’s not the driving force behind prime property purchases and so we’re not seeing the mad scramble to complete that is causing havoc in lower price tiers. It’s very much a case of the hare and the tortoise in this respect and while the general market is sure to run low on steam come the end of the year, the high-end market is likely to keep moving forward at a strong and consistent pace. We’re seeing this in London more than anywhere at present, having lagged behind and, in fact, suffered to the greatest extent over the last year, the market is now starting to turn and at a pace that will ensure a cleaner bill of health come September and beyond.”

Yes Homebuyers founder and managing director Matthew Cooper said: “Please don’t be fooled by claims that homes are ‘selling’ at their fastest ever rate. This couldn’t be further from the truth and while sellers are securing a buyer at an incredibly quick pace, the time it’s taking to actually complete is significantly longer than it has previously. As a result, sales that should be done and dusted are stagnating for months on end and many are falling through as a result. You have to question if a platform with the visibility of Rightmove should be fuelling the current market hysteria and the resulting logjam by spurting fluffy statements around record-breaking market sentiment.”

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Keller Williams UK CEO Ben Taylor said: “House prices have gone stratospheric and if you believe that what goes up, must come down, then surely we must be due a correction soon. That said, there have only ever been two periods in the last thirty years where house prices have fallen over any significant time and so there are smarter bets to be made. If anything, the new Government-subsidised low deposit mortgage, and interest rates that are set to fall still further, will probably cause this explosive market to continue crackling.”

Ascend Properties managing director Ged McPartlin, said: “At the rate the current market is moving, there will be no houses left to sell. It’s great to see the North is the engine room powering this immediate market performance with some astonishing 9% plus annual rates of growth in both the North West and Yorkshire. Yorkshire alone has enjoyed a 4.2% increase on a month-on-month basis which is usually a rate of growth reserved for annual performances and really highlights how quickly the market is moving at present. If this rate of growth were to continue, Yorkshire folk could expect to see the value of their home increase by £116,000 in a single year.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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Rightmove: New record for average property price

The average price of property coming to market increased by 1.1% (£3,534) in September, to an all-time national record of £323,530, according to the Rightmove House Price Index.

This is 5.5% (£16,818) higher than a year ago, and shows the highest annual growth rate for over four years.

As a result of this trend, Rightmove has forecast that the annual rate of increase will rise further before the end of the year, peaking at around 7%; this is compared to Rightmove’s original forecast of 2% in December last year.

Despite market closure between late March and mid-May, 2% more sales have been agreed so far this year than in the same period in 2019.

September saw three new records for market activity: average time to sell hit 50 days, 12 days faster than the same period last year; for the first time, estate agents had more properties marked as sold than as available for sale; and the number of sales reported was 70% higher than the same period a year ago.

Rightmove also recorded a 49% increase in traffic in September, compared to the same period last year, which is the biggest year-on-year jump since 2006.

So far in October, the number of sales agreed is still 58% up on the same period last year.

The number of active buyers contacting estate agents has reached a high level, up by 66% in September compared to 12 months ago, and only marginally down on the peak of +67% seen in July.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “Previous records are tumbling in this extraordinary market, and there are still some legs left in the upwards march of property prices.

“We predict that the annual rate of growth will peak by December at around 7% higher than a year ago.

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“Many buyers seem willing to pay record prices for properties that fit their changed post-lockdown needs, though agents are commenting that some owners’ price expectations are now getting too optimistic, and not all properties fit the must-have template that buyers are now seeking.

“Not only is the time left to sell and legally complete before the 31 March stamp duty deadline being eaten away by the calendar, but more time is also needed because the sheer volume of sales is making it take longer for sales that have been agreed to complete the process.

“Sellers and their agents should therefore be wary of being too optimistic on their initial asking price, as whilst activity levels continue to amaze there are some signs of momentum easing off from these unprecedented levels.”

Bannister added: “Prospective buyers are seeing properties selling fast and prices rising as they search for their next home, adding to momentum and spurring them on to act quickly.

“With the number of buyers contacting agents still up by two-thirds on a year ago, there is plenty of fuel left in the tank to drive further activity in the run-up to Christmas and into next year.

“There have also been government promises of additional low-deposit mortgage support for first-time buyers, which could prove to be timely as we run up to 31 March.

“It appears that the current momentum, assisted by the prospect of stamp duty savings, is helping to keep the housing market healthy.

“Estate agents have worked hard to give confidence to sellers and buyers alike that property viewings can be conducted safely, and early signs show that market activity still remains high in areas with stricter local lockdowns.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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