And Now For the Good News

n Sky News recently we heard that mortgage lending for house buyers was 19% higher during July this year than in the same month in 2008 indicating the first material annual growth since early 2007. The number of first time buyers applying for loans also increased significantly, some 18%, giving hope that the battered property market is genuinely on the road to recovery.

Whilst some pundits extol the virtues of the low base rate others are anticipating a down turn in late 2009 and early 2010. What comes across loud and clear to Property Pathways is that whilst the property market in the UK is still a real mixed bag at the moment with no one able to predict what will happen next, the forecast is a far rosier picture than the 8% fall for 2009 and flat line for 2010 as predicted in Reuters June survey.

The latest polls indicate that house prices have finally bottomed out and a slow return to growth is anticipated after the second quarter of 2010. The Banks are rebuilding trust even with all the toxic debt they have, appearing more stable and even though we all know they are not out of the woods yet, monthly mortgage approvals have increased even with the tightened lending criteria. Recent surveys also indicate that there are around a million first time buyers just waiting for increased confidence to encourage their entry into the market. More details please

Bovis Homes confirmed a growing trend of stabilisation in August with Bellway and Taylor Wimpey posting positive trading statements in spite of the forecast decline for completions in 2009. Prospects for house builders are optimistic in the long term with a current under supply of housing, low interest rates and higher employment being likely to increase demand in the second half of 2010.

The global crisis of 2008 to 2009 has created a massive shortfall of new build stock in the UK market making the period up to 2016 the perfect time for buying ‘off plan’ as more and more developers are going to be stepping back into the market to fill the ever rising demand in order to secure loans to start building. This in turn means that they will be willing to incentivise ‘off plan’ sales as quickly as possible by making them as attractive to the buyer as they can. In turn, all property sold against good solid fundamentals will increase in value as the market begins to move again with the mass entry of the first time buyers.

If you are considering buying, ‘off plan’ could be the way for you to dramatically increase your profit as long as you remember that the earlier you get in, the better the deal will be and the less risk you’ll take as long as you focus on the fundamentals like shops, schools, transport links, employment opportunities and investment. With ‘off plan’ you will be buying property at rock bottom prices with an upward trend in the property market that is on your side right now.

In the meantime home owners need to be aware of the predicted ‘double dip’ that could hit in early 2010 should the record low interest rates of 0.5% currently being enjoyed be increased. If this happens, the borrowers who’ve survived this far because of the low loan rates will be pushed even further increasing repossessions and forced sales which will add more supply onto the market and could push house prices down if not tempered by the entry of the first time buyers.

The good news is that for those in the market to buy it’s a breathing space to make the right choice knowing that you can offer between 20 – 25% lower than the current asking market price and probably secure a great deal on your mortgage to boot. The latest HSBC’s 1.99% home loan offer has created a lot of speculation and it’s yet to be seen whether or not the other lenders follow suite. What is certain is that the Bank of England will be forced to keep the interest rate relatively low throughout the first quarter of 2010 to balance low inflation and expected tax rises.

Looking at the biggest price improvements among property types you’d be well placed to look at terraced houses as they are registering rises of 3.2% against last July followed closely by semi-detached and flats.

Be greedy when everyone is fearful, be fearful when everyone is greedy.”

Warren Buffett – U.S. investor, businessman, and philanthropist.

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