Home is where the heart is

Published: 16/02/2023 By Tam van Wyk

Valentine’s day – a day full of love and giving, of chocolates, champagne and flowers. But what about our relationships with our properties? Are we still in love with them? Or are we heading for an expensive divorce?

At the back end of last year, our relationship was looking decidedly rocky, with the doom-mongers (and the press) predicting mortgage rates would soar, the housing market would crash and strike-laden Britain would come to a grinding halt. Fortunately, we are now emerging from those dark days and it is clear that, like so many of these things, it was an overaction and the chaos unleashed by Liz Truss’ min-budget was only temporary. January’s housing data reveals, far from crashing, the market bounced – asking prices were up by 0.9%, and buyer activity went up by a whopping 55% (Rightmove). Mortgage rates, instead of soaring, have dipped below 4%. Better still, with the economy and inflation all heading in the right direction, the outlook is likely to continue improving.

It won’t all be plain sailing, though, because affordability is seriously stretched and our bills keep on rising. There are also some serious issues to be dealt with in the rental market. But here again, there is more good news emerging. For years, landlords have been hit with punitive taxes and regulations.

And, for years, the property industry has been warning that it would result in supply shortages and rocketing rents as landlords exit the market. Finally, people are starting to listen. It is a shame it has taken so long, but the press is now giving the issue some proper coverage and the government’s Levelling Up, Housing and Communities select committee has just released a report recommending that buy to let be made more financially attractive to small landlords. It is unclear, as yet, how the government will react to the committee’s findings, but at least there has now been an admission that something needs to be done.

Talking of which, if you are thinking of taking advantage of the more benign conditions to put your property on the market, just give us a call and we can get you moving.