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JONATHAN ROLANDE: Property market needed shot in the arm but got a slap in the face

It was the news we were all expecting. But I still feel a sense of disappointment as I digest the fact the Bank of England has decided to hold interest rates once again. 

You don’t need to be an economics whizz to realise that the decision was both predictable and understandable. And, yes, there is a good argument to suggest that it is better to hold steady and not overheat the market. 

If we were comparing the Bank of England’s rates committee to a football manager, they definitely have the feel of Gareth Southgate about them.

A sensible bunch. Risk averse. Unlikely to ‘roll the dice’. Probably look good in their waistcoats. 

But they won’t get you off your seats.

As a result, as I sit at my desk and reflect, the overwhelming feeling I have now as we enter the second half of the year is now one of deflation. 

The market has been confidence-free since September 2022, when rates began that upward climb to their 16-year high. 

Making a cut this week would, I believe, have delivered the shot in the arm in the property market really really needs right now.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the room where the Bank of England makes these decisions. 

I’ve little doubt the setting for these make-or-break economic decisions is bound to be very pleasant. 

But I wonder if, outside the plush board rooms, the Committee really has a sense of what is going on on the frontline in the UK property market. 

If they decided to visit a few estate agents across the country they would hear first hand how many are operating within a very fragile market.

The drive, ambition and momentum from those working within the market remains as strong as ever. 

But we desperately need some support from those holding the economic levers.

Yes, house prices in some areas are still high, rents definitely still are too and I can’t see that situation changing anytime soon. 

But the signal of a rate reduction could have been transformational. 

It would have encouraged lenders to reduce their own recently increased lending rates. And it would have also allowed more first time buyers to get out of the rental trap.

It would also have encouraged developers to borrow and to build.  

So what next? Without a rate very soon, the market looks set to stagnate this winter. 

And that isn’t good news for anyone in the property sector or the country.

It’s been suggested we could still see at least one, maybe two rate cuts, before the next General Election. 

That would be news to lift the disappointment - and help set the market back on a positive trajectory.

Jonathan Rolande is founder of House Buy Fast


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