Wed 27 Apr 2022
The removal of Covid restrictions has sparked a revival of the capital’s rental market, with estate agents reporting historically low levels of stock. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told City AM: ’We are seeing multiple viewings on properties within hours of marketing on portals so landlords can be more choosy on their perceived quality of tenants and their references which is not helping pet owners and students.'
Property prices rose at their fastest annual pace since 2007 in February, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ’Prices may be continuing to rise to record levels but looking behind the numbers we are finding in our offices that this is more as a direct result of lack of choice, which is also compromising the number of transactions. Prices are unlikely to continue their mighty gains as affordability is becoming increasingly stretched, with events in Ukraine likely to send inflation and especially energy costs even higher.’
Meanwhile, Nationwide’s March house price index saw prices rocket by 14.3 per cent over the past year. Jeremy Leaf told This is Money: ‘Although the Nationwide house price index has generally been widely respected for its accuracy and reliability, its latest report has a whiff of yesterday’s news. These figures are still showing prices rising strongly based on mortgages granted for sales agreed several months ago so don’t reflect what’s been happening at the sharp end since. Rising interest rates, inflation and wider concerns about the impact of the terrible events in Ukraine in particular have put a dampener on transactions and prices which continue to be sustained by stock shortages. We definitely have the feel of entering a more ’normal’ market phase, similar to pre-Covid times with supply and demand increasingly in balance.'
A council tax clampdown in Wales has been announced to deal with holiday home demand, which is driving up prices rapidly. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Express: ’The Welsh Government’s proposals at first glance appear laudable. Any policy which seeks to make more properties available to purchase for local people at affordable prices should be welcomed.'
House prices growth hit a new eight-month high in February despite rising interest rates and a squeeze on budget. The latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed 79 per cent of members reported a rise in house prices that month, up from 74 per cent in January and the highest figure since June. Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard: ’Events in Ukraine and inevitable even-higher-than-expected energy prices are helping deepen those concerns and scaring those on limited budgets - often first-time buyers.'
How can you improve your chances of getting on the housing ladder? Jeremy Leaf told The Times that everyone involved in selling a house has a vested interest. ’If the agent says, ‘oh well, you’ve got to make an offer today, otherwise, you’re going to lose it,’ you should get that confirmed by the seller if possible. Try to meet them, displaying that you’re interested, and get it from the horse’s mouth if possible.’