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Expats could cash in on UK house prices as they continue to defy the soaring cost of living.
While inflation and mortgage interest rates rocket, house prices have steadily kept their value so far in 2023.
So what’s happening in the UK property market, and is it all gloom and doom?
- Online estate agent Rightmove reports record asking prices in the firm’s latest published data for March.
- House prices jumped 5.5 per cent in the year to February, says the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
- But price rises are slowing, say lenders Halifax and Nationwide
- Rents are outpacing the cost of living with double-digit increases, according to the ONS
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Rightmove explained sellers are trying to price homes to sell by putting them on the market at competitive prices.
Seasonal price hikes normally add 1.2 per cent in value to asking prices, but this year, the rises are a full percentage point lower at 0.2 per cent.
And completed sales have dropped by 20 per cent since September, reeling from the impact of Kwarsi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-Budget following LIz Truss winning the Tory leadership race and moving to No 10 Downing Street as prime minister.
“Agents are reporting that many sellers have transitioned out of the frenzied multi-bid market mindset of recent years and understand the new need to tempt Spring buyers with a competitive price,” said director of property science Tim Bannister.
“The current unexpectedly stable conditions may tempt more sellers to enter the market who had been considering a move in the last few years but had been put off by its frenetic pace. Buyers may have struggled to find a home that suited their needs in the stock-constrained market of recent years and will now see more choices.
Price Rises Smaller Than Expected
“Those who have decided to move should not wait too long, as not only is the number of sales agreed back to pre-pandemic levels, but homes are selling twelve days quicker than at this time in 2019.“
Although the ONS reports the growth rate for house prices has shrunk for the third month in a row, at £288,000, homes are still worth £16,000 more in February 2023 than a year earlier. However, they have slipped £5,000 since November’s record high of £293,000.
Pocketing an 8.6 per cent rise, owners in the West Midlands had the best growth, while the lowest increase of 2.9 per cent was in London.
Lenders Halifax and Nationwide have opposing views of the property market’s performance.
Nationwide claims house prices are falling in March – by 3.1 per cent year-on-year and 0.8 per cent since February.
Halifax agrees the growth rate is stalling but still feels the market is in positive territory – with a 1.6 per cent annual increase and a +0.8 per cent month-on-month rise.
Nationwide’s Chief Economist Robert Gardner said: “The housing market reached a turning point last year due to the financial market turbulence which followed the mini-Budget. Since then, activity has remained subdued – the number of mortgages approved for house purchase remained weak at 43,500 cases in February, almost 40 per cent below the level prevailing a year ago.”
Rents Rising Faster Than Ever
Private rents are shooting up faster than ever, says a separate report from the ONS.
Rents were up 4.9 per cent in the year to February – the biggest annual increase since records started in January 2016.
The largest increase was in the East Midlands, where rents jumped 5.1 per cent in 12 months. The smallest rise was 4.2 per cent in the South East. London landlords saw a rise of 4.8 per cent, the highest increase since December 2012.
“The annual growth rate of private rental prices in the UK began to increase in the second half of 2021. Annual growth was seen across all regions except London, where prices decreased. The annual percentage change in rents increased across all regions in 2022, including in London, and this has continued in early 2023,” said the ONS.
Data from tenant referencing firm Homelet disclosed London has the highest rents in the UK and the largest rent growth.
“It’s fair to say that demand for rental properties remains exceptionally high,” said HomeLet CEO Andy Halstead.
“The lack of available properties means that the market is likely to continue to be very competitive, so landlords must remain vigilant, and tenants should be aware that finding a suitable property is proving to be a tricky task for many.”
|Region||Mar-23||Mar-22||Annual change||Feb-23||Monthly change|
|East of England||£1,138||£1,044||9.00%||£1,124||1.20%|
|Yorkshire & Humberside||£804||£743||8.20%||£794||1.30%|
|UK excluding Greater London||£993||£910||9.10%||£983||1.00%|
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