March 2013 House Prices.

by Mark Johnston

March 2013 House Prices.

The finance Ministry and the bank of England have announced several measures since last to try to boost the housing sector.

Therefore some experts feel with the funding for lending scheme appearing to have had an impact on the mortgage market and also with the help to buy scheme on the horizon, there may be a degree of expectation in the market. But these experts are worried that sellers may therefore become over confident and thus overestimate the value of their home.

It seems that the outlook for the housing market is unusually uncertain at present and this is in part because the prospects for the wider economy are unclear, but also because the impacts of a number of newly introduced initiatives are hard to gauge.

Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said that “buyer demand had been supported by the bank of England funding for lending scheme, which has helped to reduce mortgage costs and increase availability”.

Figures released by the mortgage lender Halifax show that prices in the first 3 months of this year were up by 1.2 per cent on the previous quarter and also up by 1.1 per cent on the same period in 2012.

According to the latest Nationwide house price index, house prices were flat month 0.8 per cent on a year ago.

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of Dragonfly Property Finance, believes “confidence in the market was anything other than flat”.

According to Rightmove, the property website, the spring market has seen new sellers asking prices at the highest ever recorded in the month of March.

Recent figures have shown that the average price of a property coming on to the market in March is around £239,710. The previous peak achieved at this time of year was in 2008, just 6 months before the banking crisis began.

The latest figures compiled by estate agents found that properties are now selling after an average of 80 days on the market, compared with 90 days a year ago.

Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, suggests that “whilst outlooks on the property prices differ and remain patchy according to location and property type, overall there appears to be an upturn in confidence”.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, believes “weak income growth and continuing below trend economic growth are likely to remain significant constraints on housing demand during the remainder of this year. However, overall we expect to see a modest increase in UK house prices during 2013”.

However, Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, has warned that “even small price rises are pushing the dream of home ownership out of many people’s reach”.

In conclusion whilst it is too early in the year to make estimates about the full years transaction volumes, some agents are reporting that more properties are being sold subject to contract.

Although on a bright note there have been some indications by lenders that they intend to increase the number of mortgages they make available throughout 2013.

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