Press Round Up December 2021
House prices recorded their biggest three-monthly growth in 15 years, according to the Halifax, with the typical UK home now worth almost £273,000. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told This is Money: ‘Halifax borrowers continue to demonstrate the impressive resilience seen across the market, even after taking advantage of the stamp duty concession became impossible. However, those savings were relatively small beer for many compared with the gains that could be made from locking in their mortgages to present record low fixed levels before rates inevitably rise. On the ground, demand is not consistent across the board, demonstrated most clearly for us in the multiple offers received on the rare occasions three and four-bedroom family houses become available.’ He added in The Daily Telegraph: ‘Flats are making a bit of a comeback now that post-furlough working and commuting patterns have been formalised for many, at least in the medium-term.'
House prices have entered a new normal after dropping 1.1 per cent between the end of the stamp duty holiday in September and October last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. Jeremy Leaf told City AM that the latest index showed ‘reduced but still determined demand, along with an expectation of improvement in supply’.
New advice from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors aims to help neighbours work out any disputes. Jeremy Leaf told Mail Online: ’In my experience solutions to [neighbourly disputes] are rarely ‘easy’. Many neighbours are not keen to resolve issues and meet their liabilities even when it is in their best interests to do so, unless perhaps they are thinking of moving.’ He added: ‘If a problem arises it’s best to look at the title plan but that may not help, especially if the property is located in an outlying area where boundaries can be hard to define or may have changed since previously plotted. Properties are often occupied by tenants with owners living far away with little interest in resolving what they regard as ‘minor squabbles’ or even less in paying for them.'
The average number of homes available per estate agency branch fell to a record low of 20 in November, according to Propertymark. Jeremy Leaf told The Independent: ‘Lack of property choice is posing a more serious threat to transaction numbers than rising interest rates and stretched affordability.’
Housing affordability has worsened in most UK regions since 2011, says Nationwide building society. Jeremy Leaf told The Guardian: ’The Nationwide survey not only demonstrates the underlying strength of the market after the withdrawal of the stamp duty holiday and furlough but gives a broad hint of the direction of travel for 2022. We are seeing much the same at the sharp end too, including in the run up to Christmas with rising Omicron cases, inflation and interest rates resulting in reduced activity but not a significant correction.’ He explained further in This is Money: 'Further Covid restrictions will only lead to a build-up of more pent-up demand. But momentum will continue to be compromised by lack of supply as we have found sellers tend to be more put off than buyers because they are concerned about having people in their homes for viewings.’