Spring is now well under way, and with the warmer weather, longer days and a succession of Bank Holidays, everyone seems to be a little more positive than they have been over the winter.
This is true of the economy too. Employment in the UK is at its highest record since 1971, with over 32.7 million people in work according to the Office for National Statistics. The UK’s unemployment is below 4%, which means we are doing far better than many of our counterparts in the EU, where the average is 6.5%.
On top of this, average wages have continued to rise at a faster rate than inflation, which has remained at 1.9% - which is excellent news for household budgets.
Perhaps as a result of these positive factors, a recent report produced by NAEA suggests that there has been a slight increase in demand from prospective buyers in recent months.
There are also indications that now is an excellent time to buy.
Mark Carney has recently declared that the Bank of England may in future have to raise interest rates more frequently than previously expected, which would impact upon some homeowners’ mortgage repayments. Those who look to purchase sooner rather than later can benefit from long-term fixed-rate mortgages at the current low rates.
The extension of the Brexit deadline is also a positive for those looking to move in the near future, as there is now plenty of time for properties to exchange before the new date of the 31st of October.
First-time buyers will particularly benefit, as the market is reported to be at its most affordable for a decade – enabling many more buyers to join the first rung of the property ladder.
In addition, since the Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting that house prices will be rising by 4% by 2021, those who do purchase now are likely to reap the benefits in a few years’ time.
Perhaps as a result of these factors, 101,830 transactions took place in March. This represents the highest monthly total since July 2017 and indicates that buyers are recognising the opportunities this spring has presented.
The lettings market too has shown growth at the beginning of spring. Average rents have risen by 1.2% nationwide in the year to March – a higher-than-expected increase – despite speculation around the new Tenant Fee Bill. This increase is attributed to a widening gap between demand and supply, as fewer landlords are bringing their properties to the market.
|This is part of our series of Market Updates. You can read the other 2019 updates here:||January - February - March - April|