Mortgage market increasingly complex

Nia Williams

February 23, 2010

Gross mortgage lending is at a 10 year low, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders; the number of new properties coming on to the market has, however, jumped by nearly 20% against the position 12 months ago with over 90,000 properties being listed in January alone, according to property portal Rightmove.co.uk.

Rightmove added that 62% of respondents in its buyer confidence poll claimed now was a good time to buy.

Commenting on the market, Tim Harvey, managing director of the UK-regulated mortgage brokers Offshoreonline.org, said: “The UK housing market has produced some remarkable data over the past 12 months. Stock shortage was a common problem in 2009, with estate agents reporting fewer sellers. However, prices held up well in the most sought after areas, as demand remained, with the result that we saw headlines proclaiming pre credit crunch values being achieved.”

Against this background of albeit localised solid demand, prices in the UK have started to edge upwards on a consistent basis. According to the Financial Times House Price Index, values rose by 0.7% in January, giving an annual improvement of 5.4%. Asking prices, as recorded by Rightmove.co.uk jumped by 3.2% in the same month.

Tim Harvey added, “Sellers are certainly showing signs of confidence and are coming back into the market. We have now had over 6 months of positive reports of house price growth across all of the major monitors in this market, with the Financial Times Index reporting 9 months of price growth. Inevitably, this is sending a message to sellers that prices are stabilising, so now is a good time to start to sell again after the turmoil of 2007 and early 2008.”

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