Fri 11 Nov 2022
House prices fell slightly in September as property inflation dropped to single digits, according to Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told This is Money: ’New buyers are pausing for breath while they consider the likely pace and size of future interest rate hikes, so activity is reducing. The question is whether worries about rising mortgage payments outweigh the benefits of the recent stamp duty reduction, particularly for first-time buyers.’ He explained further in The Daily Express: 'The mini-Budget sparked a chain reaction of unintended consequences raising buyer concerns that any savings in stamp duty and other taxes would be more than offset by mortgage rates rising much more quickly and higher than expected.'
Buyer enquiries have fallen for the fifth month in a row with Brits turning to renting instead of homeownership, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Jeremy Leaf told City AM: ’We’re told more borrowers have higher loan-to-value mortgage debt than in the last financial crisis of 2008 but we’re not seeing signs of a major correction in our offices yet.'
Renters in London are facing higher costs as competition for properties drives up prices, according to Rightmove. Jeremy Leaf told BBC News: ’We have multiple calls for the same property. We might have 25 to 30 viewings for one property with some people even bidding blind on it saying ‘I’m having that’ even though they haven’t seen it.’ He said that estate agents were finding that there were ‘too few properties, too many people choosing them, rents going up, quality going down,’ and considers the situation to be ‘no good for anyone’.
The job of an estate agent is to sell property on behalf of the vendor. However, Jeremy Leaf told The Spectator: ‘It’s about finding the right level. We had sellers asking Mickey Mouse prices for a long time, which wasn’t helpful. I don’t expect a crash due to levels of demand and people will always need to move for death, debt and divorce. I can see much more realism between buyers and sellers now. A lot of people will pause if they can’t afford to move due to the increased cost of finance, but there are those taking advantage of mortgage offers at competitive rates and before they go higher.’
It is still too early to see sales and prices drop in the official data with Rightmove recording a two per cent increase in demand in September compared with the previous year. However, Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard: ‘We have noticed already a significant drop in enquiries since the mini-Budget. Clearly many buyers, particularly those taking their first steps on the ladder, have pressed the pause button because they just aren’t sure how much their mortgage costs are likely to increase.'