UK housing activity jumped at the end of 2016, as consumer confidence climbed.
First time buyers led the field with the number of valuations rising by 26 per cent on an annual basis.
“First time buyers and people selling property have regained much of the confidence they lost in the wake of the Brexit vote. With interest rates still at record lows, many buyers are taking the opportunity to buy property that would have been regarded as a bargain at that price just a couple of years ago,” says John Bagshaw, Corporate Services Director of Connells.
Valuation activity among those looking to remortgage increased by 19 per cent.
“In August the base rate was cut to 0.25 per cent, the first adjustment in over seven years. This led to lower mortgage rates which has fueled the remortgaging sector. First-time buyers have also taken full advantage of government led schemes and incentives such as Help to Buy which have done a great deal for affordability,” adds Bagshaw.
The number of valuations conducted for those selling property increased 25 per cent between December 2015 and December 2016. Indeed, while overall activity is up 40 per cent, the volume of property sellers is up 32 per cent.
“The housing market has been recovering since September and had a great December,” concludes Bagshaw. “Compared to 2015 it looks good. Compared to December 2014 it looks exceptional.”
Brexit to offer boost for first-time buyers?
10th August 2016
The UK’s vote to the European Union may give a boost to first-time buyers attempting to get on the housing ladder.
Housing market activity shifted in favour of both first-time buyers and remortgagors, according to the latest research from Connells Survey and Valuation.
The first full month after Britain’s historic vote to leave the EU, July saw the number of all property valuations fall 2 per cent year-on-year.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, comments: “Judging the Brexit effect might take years – but in the meantime the first full month after the vote already looks encouraging. Change has mainly been confined to the mixture of activity, rather than the overall volume of valuations. Any clouds of uncertainty are showing their silver lining for first-time buyers, if anything dealt an advantage as some other buyers paused for thought in the weeks immediately after the result. If longer-term economic issues are on the horizon, first time buyers aren’t feeling the effects yet.”
Activity in the first-time buyer and remortgaging sectors drove July’s valuation market. There were 12 per cent more first-time buyer valuations in July 2016 than in July 2015. (Remortgaging activity also saw the same annual rate of growth.)
Bagshaw continues: “First-time buyers are continuing to make the most of government schemes and are now boosted by even lower mortgage rates this summer. This is the same development that is proving a boost for remortgagors, also benefitting from a new wave of even better mortgage deals.”
The figures are backed up by new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which found that first-time buyers borrowed £5.5bn in June 2016, up 28 per cent on May and 25 per cent on June last year. This equated to 34,300 loans, up 24 per cent month-on-month and 17 per cent year-on-year.
Richard Connolly, Chief Executive Officer at Rentplus, comments: “It’s reassuring to see an increase in first-time buyers in June, confirming that more young Britons are realising their dream of homeownership. However, homes unfortunately still remain unaffordable for many, with house prices rising faster than wages during the year. First-time buyers are therefore having to increase their borrowing even further, just to get a foothold on the property ladder. Despite low interest rates and other incentives, homeownership remains out of reach for many; with rents continuing to rise, this further hinders progress on savings for a deposit.”
“With the changing economic climate after the EU referendum, the challenge of increasing homeownership may now steepen,” he adds. “While low interest rates may make obtaining mortgages more affordable, there could further hurdles such as potential slowdowns in employment or construction making it more difficult to buy a home. To give first-time buyers a boost, the government needs to implement a range of mixed tenure options to help improve access to housing.”