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Jonathan Rolande: Green shoots are on the horizon

After months of doom and gloom about the property market, it finally feels like there are green shoots on the horizon.

I’m not just basing that on some festive spirit, recent data shows positivity in many areas. 

Data out last week for instance showed house prices recorded a second month of growth. 


Values, according to the Nationwide House Price Index, were 0.2% higher - which comes hot on the heels of the 0.9% increase it announced in October. 

Right now, any increase is something to feel really positive about. 

I will say it quietly, but I am increasingly of the view that barring an unforeseen disaster, the worst of the market is now behind us. 

Interest rates are very unlikely to rise again in the New Year and dizzying house prices are now pretty much universally accepted as a thing of the past. 

Looking back at the past year, many of the key ingredients were in place to prompt a rapid reduction in house prices. These included multiple bank rate increases, shortage of stock, affordability hit by inflation and more. 

Yet prices have remained surprisingly stubborn. Part of the reason for this is the shortage of property coming to the market.

One reason is because many landlords are holding rather than quitting the market thanks to high rents and a hope that prices will hold up longer term. 

Bank forbearance and more sensible lending has prevented the mass repossessions of the 90’s. Those that do not have to sell are staying put and this shortage has supported prices.  

Against this backdrop I’d like to see the Government now focus on two main things in the New Year. 

One is creating a strategy to deal with soaring rents. As a landlord you might be surprised to hear me saying that ever-increasing rents need to be addressed. 

But they do because 2024 could be the year the rental market simply becomes unsustainable. 

A thriving rental market needs competition, but right now the supply is so low that the very small stock of available property is in the hands of a very small number of landlords. 

That’s not good for the market, and it’s  not good for tenants. 

Policies designed to stimulate supply is the second area I want to see the Government focus on in the New Year.

It might be wishful thinking, but a transformational house building project in the New Year is not only what the market desperately needs, but it is what a generation of young people deserve. 

Experts are predicting that we could have a General Election as soon as May next year so we can expect all the main parties to put housing at the centre of their manifestos. 

This should also help ensure 2024 can be the year the market bounces back after a difficult 12 months. 

Thanks in no small part to the work many in the sector have done this year the green shoots are there.  

We now need the help and support to help them grow. 



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