by Mark Johnston
The Property Market in 2012.
It seems that in terms of levels of home ownership the UK now stands 11out of 17 in the European Union league tables.
However, with interest rates staying low and house prices remaining stagnant it appears that there is a reassuring level of stability in the property world.
The governments funding for lending scheme, which was launched in August last year, appears to have boosted buyer confidence about their ability to get a mortgage.
This means that more people have now set their sights on buying a home.
Following the introduction of the funding for lending scheme the number of mortgages on the market increased and lenders have been slashing their rates.
John Wilcock, head of mortgages at the Post Office, suggested that “the changing lending landscape, housing market movement and the availability of more affordable mortgages has perhaps cajoled many in to feeling more confident about the future of the housing market at as whole”.
A total of 216,000 first time buyers got a foothold on the housing ladder in 2012, which was the first time the annual total has exceeded 200,000 since 2007.
It also appears the housing market as a whole has picked up during 2012 as a total of 323,900 loans were made to home movers. This figure was a 2.7 per cent increase on the previous year.
Figures have also revealed that more than 3,000 homes have been reserved under the governments ‘Newbuy’ scheme, which was also launched in March last year.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that house prices also rose by 3.3 per cent in 2012 to an average of £233,000.
A report published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) suggested that there was a “notable increase in buyer interest” and these signs were therefore translating in to higher sales rates.
According to some experts the housing market is now showing signs that it may be over the ‘very worst’.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have also said that they feel ‘more postive’ about the UK housing market and also the wider economy than they did a year ago.
Economists have therefore suggested that a recovery in the UK property market is now gathering pace, with house prices on track to surpass their pre-financial crisis peak in 2013.
Peter Bolton King, global residential director at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said “as we start the new year confidence in the housing market does appear to be improving”.
Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, adds that “recent evidence shows that housing market activity is picking up modestly”.
However, all this said some experts still feel that more still needs to be done to ensure that buyers can access the market at every level.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, feels that “conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months, with little movement in either house prices or sales”.
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