Property Prices are Up

by Mark Johnston

Official figures have shown an increase in residential properties by 0.8 per cent in England and Wales.  The average house price now sits at around the £163,083 mark according to the latest data from the Land Registry office. 

This figure is a national average and takes into consideration the rises and falls across the country.  For example the average house price in London has risen by 5 per cent year on year but the average house price in the North East has fallen sharply by 8.1 per cent. 

The slow but sure recovery has attracted more sellers into the market and according to market insiders, there appears to be far more sellers than there are buyers.  Not really a big secret if you’ve been reading this website for a few weeks.  We reported earlier this month that homeowners are in serious danger of defaulting on their monthly payments, there is a significant increase in help for first time buyers and that these first time buyers are so strapped for cash, they prefer to rent property until they scrape the 10 per cent (if they are lucky) deposit together.  Then, even having the deposit is not necessarily a guarantee that anyone will lend you money towards buying a house.  The rules and criteria have been beefed up to protect the UK from a second housing bust and credit melt down. 

This all said and done, serious buyer with serious money are in a very strong position, it’s a buyers market out there.  The biggest issue since the crisis in 2007 is the availability of credit.  Rates have improved recently on both the fixed rates and the tracker deals but the rules around who lenders will lend to and how much are still being normalised. 

The British Bankers Association (BBA) revealed that just over 30,00 home loans were approved in April 2011 and that this figure was down by about 5000 on the same time last year and a massive decrease when compared to the 80,000 deals approved in 2006. 

Chief executive of Marsh & Parsons said that “Mortgage lending is still a long way from where it needs to be. No one wants a return to the irresponsible lending practices seen before the credit crisis, but lenders must do more to help those looking to buy their first home. The average £25,000 deposit required is prohibitive for thousands of would-be buyers.”

The report from the Land Registry has indicated that the number of houses completed for sale was down in February this year when compared to the same time last year. 38,336 homes were completed for sale this year but 42,515 were completed in February 2010, a decline of 10 per cent. 

The report points to an increase in overseas buyers seeking houses in England and Wales during the dip. 

Anita Mehra from Benham and Reeves Residential Letting said ‘And of course, London has traditionally been viewed as a safe haven for property investment, offering capital appreciation together with good rental yields. Its desirability has increased even further following the recent political turmoil in the Middle East,’

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