Tue 16 Jan 2024
In a shock move, house prices rose in October, according to Nationwide building society, after months of declines. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told City AM: ‘These figures, though historically reliable, only cover Nationwide’s customers and don’t include cash buyers. High mortgage rates and inflation may be compromising buyer demand but strong employment and shortage of properties for sale in areas of highest demand is keeping prices strong.'
Halifax agreed that prices rose in October after a run of six monthly falls as sellers became more cautious and because there were fewer homes for sale. Jeremy Leaf told Sky News: ‘We are not getting carried away with the modest rise in prices shown here. Transactions remain subdued, so looking forward we don’t expect to see much improvement in the market until January or February of next year at the earliest.'
The Bank of England held interest rates at 5.25 per cent for another month. Jeremy Leaf told Country Life: ‘In present troubled economic times, stability aids confidence, which is so vital to decision-making when it comes to buying and selling property.'
Flat owners have been ignored in the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, as detailed in the King’s Speech. Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard: ‘While we welcome a ban on new leasehold houses, it is disappointing that flats are not included in the legislation, as we wanted to see new and existing flats and houses included. Indeed, flat owners and those considering buying flats are looking for change as much as those purchasing houses, particularly given that flat owners often also have cladding issues to contend with.'
2025 could be the best time to buy a house, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, with prices expected to be at their lowest. However, many had predicted a price crash last year yet prices remained remarkably stable. Jeremy Leaf told The Telegraph: ‘Our view is that it is good news and bad news, because it could have been a lot worse but also it shows that it’s not going to be as bad as people thought and there is going to be an end to it.'
And finally, the Government is planning to scrap the need for planning permission to convert a house into two flats. Jeremy Leaf told This Is Money: ‘This idea is similar to the one where you can build on rooftops - it sounds great in theory but doesn’t suit every area, particularly those where there is a pre-dominance of family housing. While you may not be changing the external appearance of the property, you are changing the culture and making it multi-occupation, which could have a detrimental effect on the community.’