Brokers believe certainty is returning to the housing market

Michael Lloyd

January 14, 2020

Brokers believe the early signs this year show that certainty is returning to the housing market.

The Halifax House Price Index showed December saw the biggest monthly rise in house prices in 2019 at 1.7%.

Furthermore, reallymoving has forecast a 1.4% annual house price growth for January, followed by 3.7% in February and 3.1% in March.

David Hollingworth, associate director of communications at L&C Mortgages, said: “The early signs are encouraging and a lot of it is to do with sentiment and there are signs that sentiment has much improved.

“We’ve seen increased enquiry levels in the early stages of the year which has to be a good thing, following the election result.

“So there are positive signs but with the Budget coming up in March there are a lot of questions that could be posed.

“We have to look ahead to what may or may not come out of the Budget.

“If we get lots of talk about improvements of stamp duty, which people would like that, some people thinking about buying a house could still wait to see what happens in the Budget.

“That’s a dangerous game to play because if you have your eye on a particular property, that may no longer be an option for you as you hold off until March.

“But you can point to the fact that people have been waiting so long for clarity over what’s happening with Brexit and political certainty and as you put certainty into those areas it likely encourages consumer sentiment.

“As you go beyond Brexit there are also other issues, there is the deadline at the end of the year of when we have an appropriate deal or not as time goes on, however as we go beyond the early hurdles it does feel like there’s a more positive outlook at the moment.

“People are tired of putting plans on hold, there’s only so long you can do that for.”

Zachary Gwyn-Griffiths, property finance and protection consultant at Solutions Finance, said that certainty is to come.

He added: “I think we’re just starting to witness it.

“People are starting to get their plans in motion again for the new year.

“I’ve got deals that were on hold before General Election and now people are starting to make movements.”

Hemat Natha, director of Mortgage Advice Point, said it’s too early to tell whether certainty has definitely returned, but there is optimism in the market.

He said: “We certainly have had lot of calls and enquiries about remortgaging and refinancing.

“Early indications are good.

“These clients were putting off making big decisions like moving or doing any works on their properties but now they want to make the offers quickly and get things wrapped up.

“It’ll be interesting to see how 2020 goes but I think we’ll know more in February and March.”

Martin Stewart, director of The Money Group, added: “I think we have replaced uncertainty with a degree of certainty but housing is as cumbersome as an oil tanker so it may still take the whole of Q1 before we can stick a flag in it and claim it as a ‘buoyant market’.”

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