Wed 24 Aug 2022
Mortgage approvals rose to 66,200 in May from 66,100 in April, according to the Bank of England. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard: ’What’s happening on the ground is that buyers and sellers are inevitably more cautious bearing in mind steep rises in the cost of living and interest rates with probably worse to come. Nevertheless, we are seeing a few attempts at renegotiation or withdrawal as buyers know in particular the continuing shortage of stock means there will be little alternative.'
Demand from buyers grew strongly in the second quarter although demand is expected to tail off over the summer. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Telegraph that house prices are still holding up due to a shortage of properties for sale: ’Still unsatisfied demand is shrugging off concerns about the cost of living and rising interest rates. But we know, on the ground, that the market is changing as transactions are reducing and lengthening. Lack of choice is continuing to underpin pricing.'
Average mortgage rates leapt by 0.5 percentage points in June. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘As we are finding at the sharp end, prices are continuing their upward path, despite the impact of 40-year high inflation and five successive interest rate rises. However, the continuing lack of choice, combined with a desire to take advantage of mortgage offers at super-low rates before they expire, have given the market added impetus.'
The number of residential properties sold in the UK fell 55.1 per cent in the year to June, according to HMRC. Jeremy Leaf told This is Money: ‘Although inevitably reflecting activity of several months previously, these figures are always a better indicator of housing market strength than more volatile house prices. The latest numbers are no exception and show how the cost of living crisis and rising interest rates in particular have contributed to an increase in the length and reduction in the number of transactions.'
Poorly-designed converted office space is prompting concerns about homes that are unfit for future climate conditions. Jeremy Leaf told Mail Online: ’The problem with converted offices and many other buildings in this country is that in the past we have been fixated on ensuring they’re warm enough but now we need to think the other way round too. For that reason, air conditioning, climate cooling, adequate ventilation and above-limit insulation are discretionary rather than obligatory. On the other hand, some of our more savvy developers and builders have been allowing for overheating in their properties for many years. They have recognised that living and working in comfortable surroundings actually improves saleability, let ability and value.'
Safety is one of the many issues first-time buyers consider when buying a property on their own. Michael Zucker of Jeremy Leaf & Co told The Evening Standard: ‘Many first-time buyers are single women so security is paramount. An area where there are always plenty of people, with good lighting, close to a bus stop or station in a safe area is a priority.'