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Property Price Rises Defy Cost of Living Squeeze

The average property price in England and Wales is set to rise sharply hitting a new all-time high of £352,984 by May 2022 thanks to there not being enough supply to meet current buyer demand.

This continued shortage of properties for sale is set to drive house prices up by 5.5 per cent over the next three months (March to May 2022) according to the reallymoving House Price Forecast February 2022, which captures the purchase price buyers have agreed to pay when they search for conveyancing quotes through their comparison site, typically 12 weeks before they complete.

In fact, based on deals agreed between buyers and sellers over the last three months, this latest research predicts prices are set to fall by 0.9 per cent in March and 0.2 per cent in April before surging upwards by 6.7 per cent in May as a direct result of buyer competition for a limited supply of homes during February.

This latest research provides little evidence that the rising cost of living and hikes in interest rates are impacting buying decisions. On the contrary, it seems the run of rate hikes may have spurred buyers to strive to close deals sooner rather than later to lock in a fixed-rate mortgage at the best possible price before rates rise again.

What does this mean for First Time Buyers?

The rising cost of living, which is already being felt in shops, at the petrol pump and paying for goods and services, will be sure to impact first-time buyers and those trying to save for a deposit. However, with mortgage costs on the rise many buyers appear to be deciding there’s no time like the present to buy and lock in a low fixed rate deal to ensure their mortgage repayments are cheaper for longer.

What about second steppers?

Lack of availability is making finding a property to buy a big challenge for second steppers. Even those who have sold their properties to put themselves in a better position to buy may be finding that the number of properties they can afford to buy is reducing due to the price increases.

Rob Houghton, CEO of reallymoving, comments: “The latest data shows prices rising sharply in May based on activity in February, suggesting that for now the housing market will continue to defy expectations. We’re seeing a clash of post-pandemic driven buyer demand and a cost-of-living crisis which is only now really beginning to bite, and as yet it remains a seller’s market and the supply/demand imbalance is continuing to push up prices.

“First Time Buyers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, watching prices go up along with mortgage rates, while facing the challenge of trying to save while paying record high rents – and a shortage of homes to buy. Many will be tempted to hold out for price falls but our advice would always be to move when you have all your ducks in a row in terms of raising a deposit, securing a mortgage and finding the right home to buy at a price you can afford. Buying with a long-term view – at least 3 to 5 years – will help you to ride out any short-term fluctuations, rather than trying to call the market.”





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Alex Wright, Editor