A few reasons why you should be optimistic about Britain’s Housing Market

Andrew WilliamsNews

Britain’s property market has done well recently, despite early predictions of a late summer lull. It is welcome news that can be analysed in three parts:

  • House prices in England and Wales rose by an average of 1.3% in July according to Land Registry figures, the biggest monthly increase since January 2010. The South West benefited in particular, with prices growing at an average of 2.2%.

Although this growth slumped slightly this month, due in part to Augusts’ popularity with holidaymakers, and recorded growth in house prices of -0.6% (according to Nationwide’s latest survey), this still represents a positive three-month average.

This follows a similarly positive story for the previous three months, which saw positive price growth of 0.3% on average.

  • The Bank of England base rate has been at 0.5 per cent for 29 months, which has kept tracker plans down and forced lenders to drop the rates on fixed-term deals.

The Chelsea Building Society, for example, recently launched a reputedly market leading 10-year fixed mortgage at 3.99%. For a £1,495 set up fee, customers can fix their mortgage rates for ten years without worrying about interest rate increases. The same Building Society also offers the best ever five year deal, having cut its rate to just 3.29% on August 26th this year.

  • Mortgage affordability is now reported to be at its best level since 1999, with homeowners spending an average of 28% of their take-home pay on property payments, down by almost a half from a peak of 48% in 2007 (Halifax). This is also significantly down on the average recorded over the last 27 years of 37%.

A recent survey found that 94 per cent of people said they were spending on average a quarter less of their income on their mortgage payments, following mortgage rate falls from an average of 5.84 per cent in 2007 to 3.85 per cent today.

Furthermore, mortgage lending picked up slightly in July, with an increase in the number of loans approved for both house purchases and re-mortgages, according to figures from the Bank of England. The number of loans approved for house purchase rose to 49,239, up slightly from June’s figure of 48,500 and above the previous six-month average of 46,822.