Home Love

Published: 26/02/2024 By Alex Maile

We may officially still be in winter, but with the weather turning milder and some really encouraging data emerging from the property world, there is a spring-like feel in the air. Mortgage rates are falling and house prices and activity are rising. And the early appearance of the daffodils is only adding to the growing sense of optimism.

February has always been an important month in the property world because it’s the first time we see any data from the new year and so it tends to set the tone for everything that follows. All of the main indices, from Nationwide to Halifax, Rightmove, and Zoopla show house prices appear to have turned the corner and are back on the rise. The press has picked up on the story, too, with a raft of positive headlines appearing in the papers over the last few weeks. London, which had been lagging behind the rest of the country, is also now showing real signs of improvement.

But don’t get too carried away. Not yet, anyway. Even though mortgage rates have come down, they are still nearly four times the level they were at a couple of years back. It means this is not the time to start asking top dollar for your property because buyers are still cautious and their budgets limited.

And the good news extends to the lettings market. Rents have been soaring ever higher over the last couple of years and there were increasing concerns about how sustainable it all was. Tenants’ finances had been stretched to their limit and there were real fears over defaults. The latest data shows those rises are now modifying and a sense of balance is slowly returning to the sector. At the same time, falling mortgage costs are easing some of the pressure on landlords to put up rents, which should help keep a lid on any future rises.

So, even though Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, it seems our love of property is as strong as ever. And, on that happy note, I’ll sign off for now but, as ever, I’ll be back again next month.