Autumn Gold

Published: 24/10/2022 By Tam van Wyk

Well, it’s that time of the year again when autumn turns everything gold. Already, Halloween is fast approaching and we’ll soon be getting a stream of trick-or-treaters at our doors and hollowing out those pumpkins with the kids. This autumn also sees the continuation of both the political turmoil and the resilience of the housing market.

At least the arrival of Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor has steadied the money markets and that should help keep the base rate from rising too far. It should also give everyone a chance to take a breather while we work out what happens next. Will Liz Truss survive as PM? Will the storm just blow over? Or will we have another PM by Christmas?

Thankfully, the housing market has managed to remain calm and steady throughout, with Rightmove’s figures showing asking prices were up by 0.7% in September. The housing market, though, is not entirely immune. House prices and activity are softening, but not significantly. And, if order is restored, which looks increasingly likely, then the outlook will improve for everyone.

It’s first-time buyers who are being affected most by the current chaos, as their rising mortgage costs are making it even harder for them to get their feet on the property ladder. The reduction in Stamp Duty will provide a degree of mitigation, as it reduces the amount of cash FTBs will require for their purchase and those funds can, instead, be added to deposits. Even so, many aspiring FTBs are having to remain in the rental market, adding to demand in a sector that is already suffering from supply shortages and is leading to steep rises in rents. For landlords, of course, that’s welcome news since their mortgage costs are also going up. However, affordability is becoming increasingly stretched and there will come a point where rents will reach their natural ceiling. It would therefore be very good indeed, once everything settles down, if the government begins encouraging meaningful investment in the sector.