Is now a good time to buy a property?

Is now a good time to buy a property?
Ginetta Vedrickas, Property Journalist and Columnist,  looks at the latest property market statistics......
Whether you’re moving up the ladder or downsizing, Spring is the classic time to do it. But who are the winners and losers in today’s property market?
Recent stats show a mixed picture. Considered the most reliable measure of how average house prices in the UK are changing, data from the UK House Price Index shows a dip.  Average UK house price annual growth has been steady in recent years, growing at around 4 – 5%, but the growth has been mainly driven by London’s soaring prices. But the rate has been slowing and this year it is negative for the first time since 2009.
Thomas Fisher, economist at PwC explains: “While house price inflation of 4.2% in the year to March 2018 is the same as the growth in house prices in the year to February, the shorter-term month-on-month price changes point towards weakness in the market. Across England, house prices in all but one region, the East of England, fell between February and March. For the UK as a whole, average house prices fell 0.2% from the month before.” Fisher believes that the London housing market has been weakening ever since the Brexit vote in mid-2016 and this shows no signs of letting up just yet.

Not bad for first time buyers or homeowners

firsttimebuyers.jpgBut some property experts are more upbeat. Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move, says that the data shows the ‘strength and stability underpinning the housing market’ and he believes  that - despite the uncertainty - house prices have remained fairly stable which is good news for those trying to get on the property ladder and not too bad for homeowners:  “What we’re left with is a growth trend in UK house prices that is somewhere below the boom years of 2014 to 2016 – which is welcome news for first-time buyers – but noticeably stronger than the 2011-2013 period, which will reassure homeowners.”  The general appetite for homeownership is ‘undiminished’ according to Crawford who thinks that the summer holiday season and hopefully good weather will prompt aspiring buyers to put their moving plans into action.

You may also be interested in 'How to Help Your Kids Get on the Property Ladder'.


A recent study by Rightmove reveals that the average price of newly-listed properties jumped £2,343 in the month to mid-May, despite estate agents reporting that sales are falling. The report warned that different areas of the UK were operating at different speeds and that the overall picture is one of a less buoyant property market, where people will struggle to sell at high prices. An average home in the UK is now at the record high of £308,075, but, whether you’re better off trading up or down depends on where you live. A separate report by LSL Property Services paints a similar picture, with price declines in London and robust growth in the rest of England and Wales.  While it found that prices in some areas saw double-digit growth - North Somerset house prices rose by a whopping 13.6% annually in April - it also found that the UK’s housing market is slowing down, with transactions down by a quarter year-on-year.
Estate agency Savills thinks that UK house prices will grow by around 14% over the next five years, but London prices will only grow by half that rate. In contrast they think that north-west of the country will grow by 18% with cities like Manchester and Birmingham continuing to boom. 

Moving up the ladder

upsizingproperty.jpgProperty search agent Jo Eccles of SP Property Group is now seeing lots of clients who want to move up the property ladder due to what she calls ‘a softer sales market’ in the capital. “Upsizing in a softer market tends to be financially beneficial as the savings negotiated on a more expensive property are typically greater than the discount you might end up accepting on your sale,” explains Eccles, warning however that- in the current market- it’s hard to see exactly what properties are selling for: “For the full savings to be achieved, you need price transparency and this is not readily available in the current market, making it difficult to spot a genuine saving from a ‘headline’ saving.”
Eccles charges a fee to search for property but she feels it’s worthwhile: “We pride ourselves on having the necessary detailed pricing data and market intelligence required to successfully achieve genuine discounts and buy properties for our clients at the lowest possible price.” Eccles says that on average in the last twelve months she’s secured a 13% discount for her buying clients: “So the 2% fee they have paid us has paid for itself more than six times over in these cases. Plus of course our clients have had the benefit of our expert support and navigation throughout the search and purchase process.”

If you decide to take advantage of the current softer market and make the leap and either get on the property ladder or upsize to a larger home and find yourself in need of storage during the process, we have nearly 120 stores nationwide so there is bound to be one near you.  

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