Thu 14 Sep 2023
House prices fell in June, according to Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard: 'On the ground, sales are still proceeding often to those who are not dependent on mortgage finance but they are taking longer and often involve protracted renegotiations, resulting in modest, rather than large, price falls.’ He explained further in The Guardian: ‘This slow puncture softening in house prices reinforces the message from other recent surveys that financial markets pricing in further interest rate increases is not helping buyer confidence.'
Record numbers of households are installing solar panels in an attempt to reduce their electricity bills. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘We are finding that solar panels don’t really make much difference to buyers, either encouraging them or putting them off a purchase, unless their benefits can be clearly demonstrated.’
New buyer enquiries have reached an eight-month low, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Jeremy Leaf told This is Money : ‘There’s no doubt the latest rise in interest rates hit the market like a missile, prompting a pause for thought at the very least among buyers. However, we saw in our offices very few actual withdrawals from purchases, although we did notice some renegotiation of terms, usually including price, on nearly every sale. Listings are picking up but mot as quickly as we expected, with interest on appropriately-priced properties continuing to be dominated by cash or equity-rich buyers.’
Homeowners are facing disastrous increases in their mortgage bills, equivalent to a £20,000 pay cut. Jeremy Leaf told The Telegraph that the figures showed how difficult the market is for people looking for mortgages, adding buyers were ‘pausing for thought’.
The average price of a UK house cost £286,000 in May, according to the ONS, some £7,000 below its September peak. Jeremy Leaf told City AM: ‘This most comprehensive yet historic house price survey shows clearly the impact of stubbornly high inflation on mortgage rates and the knock-on effect on confidence which is keeping house prices in check. On the ground, appetite remains but worries over how far and how fast repayments will rise is highly relevant. Meanwhile, many sellers are not prepared to reduce to what is clearly a new market ‘norm’.'
Buyers of leasehold properties should take care. Jeremy Leaf told The Telegraph: ’Despite describing leasehold as ‘feudal’ earlier this year, Mr Gove may now be less inclined to abolish it, as we’ve heard little since.’ He advises to check the details of your lease: ‘In some instances leases can prohibit hard flooring in living areas and bedrooms, leaving a buggy in a communal hallway, and smoking – even in communal garden areas.’