The latest Halifax House Price Index released this morning revealed a monthly change of -1% in March. Kate Steere, property expert at personal finance comparison site finder.com gives her thoughts:

“Today’s figures show that the events from last year are still weighing heavily on prospective buyers’ minds. While lenders have cut mortgage rates and wage growth has outstripped inflation, the turmoil from the past 12 months is still casting a dark shadow on demand. The Bank of England’s decision to hold rates has dampened UK house price recovery. Half of experts believe that the Bank will wait until June 2024 before cutting rates, so as a result we’re likely to see only a subdued recovery in house prices over the next couple of months.”

Amy Reynolds, head of sales at Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, says: “While it’s too early to say if there’s going to be a traditional post-Easter bounce for family houses, we have noticed flats are performing better than in a long time with an increase in first-time buyer activity, which is crucial for a healthy market.

LIS Show – MPU


“This is mostly down to the generosity of the Bank of Mum and Dad, as this rebound in first-time buyer activity would not have been likely without parental assistance, particularly in London and the southeast. 


“However, not everyone has help with their deposit, which is why lender innovation, such as the recent launch of the 99 per cent mortgage by Accord, is so crucial in getting the market moving.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, says: “With a continued positive outlook, as buyers take advantage of lower and stable interest rates, we are continuing to see more transactions with demand high.


“With further potential lower inflation, and with rumours that interest rates might also reduce, we are likely to see an increase in demand as the year moves on. 


“More encouragement is needed in order to provide more stock, and hopefully this could come in the shape of some stamp duty reform before a general election.”


Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: “Business is brisk, as optimism over the direction of mortgage rates prevails and  buyers and sellers demonstrate more willingness to transact.


“While the flurry of mortgage rate reductions at the start of the year has slowed, pricing is still considerably cheaper than it was a year ago. Assuming inflation continues to fall towards its 2 per cent target, the first interest rate reduction could come as early as the summer, which will further boost confidence and activity.”


Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: Prices may be softening a little but we are finding in our offices that this is more to do with better choice of properties and hard bargaining than a weakening market.


“Mortgage approvals from the Bank of England show expectations that interest rates will fall are prevailing over worries about the economy. We need to bear in mind too that the Halifax numbers do not include cash buyers which make up over a third of purchases and is a sector of the market which is especially active at present.”

Daniel Austin, CEO and co-founder at ASK Partners, said: “This data shows that the property sector is showing signs of recovery and the outlook has considerably improved. Rent values have seen sustained growth, positioning real estate as reasonably valued in comparison to gilts and presenting growth potential. In the realm of commercial real estate, factors like physical condition, location, and age significantly influence a property’s value. Well-maintained properties boasting modern amenities tend to command higher prices, while neglected ones may struggle to attract tenants or investors. In the current market, the emphasis has shifted towards the importance of location and quality over the yield on debt or cost. We anticipate opportunistic acquisitions of prime properties in prime locations.


“A RICS survey uncovered that non-traditional market segments, such as aged care facilities, student housing, data centres and life sciences real estate are yielding the most robust returns. With housing set to be a battleground point in this year’s election and as the sector moves to the top of the agenda for all parties, we hope to see a long-term plan for new homes, including social housing, however, we expect we will see more short term fixes. Stimulus will be welcome but can create unnecessary froth. For voters, a stamp duty holiday or reprieve may be a welcome sign. For developers, eased planning regulations for brownfield sites and conversions will be popular. However, the government will be faced with a challenge – striking a balance between trying to increase housing supply and therefore affordability by supporting developers and private landlords but appealing to voters who do not want to see greenfield development. The planning system remains hotly political and as a result, landlords and developers are unlikely to see much in their favour.


“As a debt provider, we hope to support the best sites in prime locations with well-capitalised sponsors who understand their product. Following this strategy, we aim to bolster developers’ initiatives with the flexible underwriting approach that is necessary for navigating current planning rules and market uncertainty. This will enable us to continue to offer opportunities for the growing number of private individuals opting to invest in property debt.”

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