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Property buying ‘frenzy’ spreads across the country

A property buying spree recorded in the East of England last month has now spread across the rest of the UK. 

The latest report from Home.co.uk calculates that average house prices will rise by a further 0.9% this month, bringing the annual growth figure up to 7.9%. 

The property website says that fierce competition among buyers in the early spring period has driven down typical time on the market figures in many parts of the country, with the East and South East regions of England registering the shortest marketing times recorded since the summer of 2007.

According to Home, the typical time on the market across England and Wales is now just 102 days, 17 fewer than in March 2015.

Over the last month, the longest marketing times were recorded in the North and Wales as supply remains 'relatively buoyant' and prices remain stable.

Home says, however, that the total stock of available property remains very low and that the number of properties currently entering the market is 4% lower than this time last year.

It reports that the West Midlands has been hit the hardest, with stock levels 12% lower last month when compared with February 2015.

Agents' stock also dropped by 8% last month in the South West when compared with the same period last year.

Doug Shephard, Home.co.uk director, says the ‘buy-to-let stampede’ before April’s 3% stamp duty surcharge has doubled the effect of the annual spring boost in property market activity. 

“This investment frenzy is providing fierce competition for first- and next-time buyers who are probably best advised to stay out of the fray until the dust settles,” he says.

“We expect that prices there will reach their affordability limits later this year and a similar market dynamic will take hold in the West Midlands, the South West and the East Midlands towards the end of the year, together with significant price growth in 2017.”

Home expects that post April the market will ‘pause for breath’ but that the underlying fundamental of cheap borrowing and tight supply will remain overall.

  • The impending 3% stamp duty charge is definitely driving activity, but the housing market tends to really get going at this time of the year anyway, so none of this is a huge surprise.

    Available stock is still an issue, but the government are doing plenty to rectify that with the Starter Homes and Help to Buy Schemes.

    Hmm, Starter Homes and Help to Buy - two gimmicks that do nothing to address the problem. There is a reason why home ownership is dwindling while the PRS is put under increasing pressure. It's a deliberate ploy by the government to not build enough houses - that way they can keep house prices artificially high, the only thing that is propping up our incredibly fragile economy. The housing market goes pop and everything tumbles like a deck of cards, just as it did in the US in 2008.

    The endless price rises and increasing bloating of the PRS is not sustainable in the long-run. The PRS already can't cope with record demand, the stamp duty changes are only going to make that worse. Social housing under this government is a joke and you need a small fortune (or very rich parents) to help you to buy a place. All in all, a pretty depressing state of affairs.

     

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