Our February Market Comment
We may be experiencing a winter of discontent, with the cost of living crisis, strikes, and another interest rate increase, but whatever you might read in the press, we are finding the market to be remarkably resilient. We are negotiating a healthy number of deals and although buyer enquiry numbers are down slightly, this is off the back of that unrealistically high demand of the past couple of years, that sent property prices through the roof.
We also need to be careful how we interpret the headlines. For example, while the Bank of Englandbase rate rose to 4% earlier this month, the financial institutions are clearly convinced that this is a temporary situation, as evidenced their long-term fixed mortgage rates, which are actually coming down.
Market confidence has been only slightly dented, and as interest rates have peaked so quickly, primarily to curb inflation (which they seem to be doing) so they are expected to fall in the foreseeable future. Remember that much of the inflation we have experienced can be attributed to global oil prices, which are now about a third lower than they were a year ago.
Of course you can never plan to buy or sell at precisely the right time and as the legendary investor Warren Buffet said, “If you can buy or sell within 10% of the bottom or the top of the market respectively, you’re doing well”.
Having said that, most people buying or selling now are less concerned about what the market is doing and are more interested in moving house for real reasons–schools, jobs, family, upsizing, downsizing, divorce, death and debt. These personal factors have a minimal impact on house prices but they do keep the market active. And activity is good for everyone.
Much of the fallout from September’s mini-budget is now history and it will soon be spring, when home movers come out of hibernation once again. Now could be a good time to put your property on the market– so you can harness this activity slightly ahead of the rest of the market. It really could pay you dividends.
You’d be putting yourself in an excellent position as an under-offer buyer, with plenty of stock to choose from in the weeks and months ahead.
© Copyright 2023 Richard Rawlings except as excluded under licence.