Surveyors report a strong month for UK housing market

The UK housing market experienced another strong month in September, with the volume of residential valuations 55% higher than August, according to chartered surveyors Connells Survey & Valuation.

The firm says in its latest report that strong growth in every sector of the market brought the total number of residential valuations conducted in September 2013 to 65% higher than the same point last year.

Particularly strong growth was recorded in the areas of buy to let and remortgages, which saw increased of 66% and 64% respectively month on month. This equates to much higher annual rates of growth, following a comparatively slow month in September 2012.

‘September has felt like a tipping point. A year since the first real effects of Funding for Lending, and five years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the financial world appears to be at the start of a much sunnier period. In just 12 months, the situation has shifted unrecognisably with last quarter’s economic growth likely to come in above 1%,’ said John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation.

‘However, many borrowers have been reliant on remortgaging to fuel a good proportion of their new found optimism. If not for record low product rates, many families could now be struggling to pay their mortgage while keeping the lights on at the same time. The real question now is how long these excellent new deals can last before the Bank of England decides to raise interest rates,’ he explained.

The report also shows that improvements in total levels of activity have also translated into more new buyers, as first time buyer activity in September grew by 52% compared to August. This leaves the number of valuations on behalf of first time buyers in September 54% higher than in the same month a year ago.

Meanwhile valuations further up the property chain, on behalf of existing home owners wishing to move, have grown almost as quickly as those for first time buyers, up 46% since August, bringing home moving activity to levels 52% ahead of September 2012.

‘Over the last year first time buyers have witnessed a reversal of fortunes. Every part of the home-buying industry is straining to keep up with a rejuvenated lending system. After five years of relative inactivity, the only danger now could be the pace of improvement,’ Bagshaw pointed out.

‘What’s certain is that more people are able to buy a home. And the next rungs on the property ladder are looking far more solid than even a few months ago,’ he added.

The data also shows that after a minor seasonal slow down in August, buy to let activity has bounced back strongly in September. The number of valuations on behalf of buy to let investors increased by 66% between August and September. This leaves buy to let activity up by 77% since September 2012.

‘September and early October are the very peak season of the rental market. But valuations for landlords hoping to expand their property portfolios now will only bring new homes onto the lettings market by around the end of the year. That’s why this is such positive news for the buy to let sector, because landlords are clearly confident that demand will still be there in several months,’ said Bagshaw.

‘Progress on the supply of rental homes will remain vital for tenants who haven’t yet joined the ranks of first time buyers. Luckily, there has never been a better time for landlords to expand portfolios, with buy to let mortgage rates the lowest they are likely to be for years,’ he added.

Article courtesy of Property Wire

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