House prices continue to rise by leaps and bounds, but some real estate agents say the signs of a slowdown are already here.
Look at the numbers, and property inflation is rampant: This week, Nationwide said home prices were up 11 percent in the year through July.
That’s even higher than the consumer price inflation behind the cost-of-living crisis, for which the latest ONS reading was 9.4 percent in June.
But while it may seem surprising that house prices continue to rise in the face of a dramatic rise in mortgage costs, as interest rates rise to combat above-target inflation, the market is said to have already lost my mind
Rocket Man: House prices have soared at the height of the pandemic hitting new highs after new highs, but some say the market is coming out of a boil
Along with the Nationwide numbers came some comments from real estate agents that the market had weakened.
There was no bearishness, of course, just talk of a mild easing of pressure, but keep in mind that this is a reasonably bearish outlook for this traditionally bullish profession.
These views are just snapshots of opinion of what’s going on, but they’re worth keeping an eye on in a market where measuring changes in direction is much more difficult than in a place where it’s easy to track, like the stock market.
And when it comes to the real estate market, it’s not just the top numbers from the home price report to watch, it’s also worth keeping an eye on what’s going on near you or where you’d like to buy.
This will provide a guide to what is most relevant to you: either a passive interest in whether your home has gone up or down in value, or an active interest in whether you can afford to buy a house or move.
While the House Price Index reports make headlines, they don’t provide the best indicator of what’s going on.
The average UK house they track is a construction and not a representation of something that actually exists – the average property near me is different to one near you.
Meanwhile, the overall UK property market is made up of many different individual pockets that don’t always move together.
In a broad sense, you can talk about this as the North-South divide, London vs. the rest, the commuter belt vs. the regions, or in many other ways.
But in a narrower sense, it can cause markets to behave differently in two places that are very close to each other. As an example, the towns where I live in Hertfordshire often don’t take the same tack as nearby Luton.
Looking at where you live won’t give you a full picture of what’s going on in the property market across the UK, but it will give you a good idea of what’s going on where it matters to you.
Depending on how interested you are, and I’m admittedly a bit of a property nerd here, you might want to keep an eye on what prices you ask, what places it’s selling for, and how much it’s coming on the market.
But there’s another piece of advice I’d give: if you really want to take the temperature of a local housing market, look at what’s not selling.
Looking at what sells and what doesn’t is the best guide to real estate sentiment and where that direction might be heading.
This is something that real estate anecdotals can do, but home price indices cannot, as they are based on sales prices, asking prices, mortgage completion figures, etc.
However, looking at what sells and what doesn’t is the best guide to real estate sentiment and where that direction could be heading.
When you think ‘that’s a crazy price’ and things are still selling, the market is doing really well.
When you see houses for sale for more than the last lot and think ‘how much?’ and they still sell, the market is good.
But when you start to see only some of the best high-priced stuff being sold and after that shift to only what seems to be fairly priced for its on-sale attributes, you can see the heat come out.
When shrink tags start hitting Rightmove en masse, you know things are definitely on the slide.
And you can tell a market is in real trouble when houses start to look like a good value and still aren’t selling.
On that note, from my property looking close to me, we have moved from the first and second stage up to the third.
The market is still in good shape, but it has stopped boiling compared to the madness of the pandemic boom.
That was to be expected: Mortgage rates have risen since the start of the year, with a five-year fixed average rising from 1.55 percent to 3.5 percent, potentially adding hundreds of pounds to the monthly cost of buying the same home.
Eventually this will have an effect and you can check how much it would cost you with our best mortgage rate comparison calculator.
A hint of a slowdown also appeared in the Nationwide report, with the building society saying that while cash buyers remained strong, mortgage buyers had declined further since the end of the stamp duty holiday.
I would expect this trend to continue, as rapidly escalating mortgage rates bite.
So maybe it’s worth looking at who doesn’t buy and what doesn’t sell.
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