The UK house market is in a standstill, waiting to provide a host of opportunities as soon as conditions improve
The UK house market is in a standstill, waiting to provide a feast of opportunities as soon as conditions improve.
That’s what emerges from this week’s Halifax report on the first quarter of the year.
The bank’s economic director Paul Smith summed up the situation: The market is currently in deep-freeze. Viewings have been cancelled. Transactions are on hold.
More worryingly, the challenging macroenvironment with business closures, joblessness rising and cuts to incomes occurring, all points to a general downward pressure on prices in the near term, Smith said.
The ultimate scale of the impact of the pandemic on the market will ultimately depend on the speed in which it can be brought under control. Encouragingly, actions by government and Bank of England are likely to provide strong support for the economy and in turn the housing market when some form of normality resumes, he said.
In the first quarter of the year before the lockdown caused by coronavirus, the typical cost of a house in the south east was just below £330,000, more than eight times average earnings in the region.
The increase in property values over the past three months raised the annual rate of inflation to 2.8 per cent, the highest gain for two and a half years.
Total number of houses for sale in England and Wales has dropped 13 per cent from pre-pandemic levels in March.
There are 14 per cent fewer properties available to rent than a year ago and 21 per cent fewer are coming on the market.
This week the analysts at Home.co.uk said the squeeze in supply was having a dramatic effect on rents in many regions. The price in some boroughs of London is 20 per cent higher than this time last year.
On Thursday this week there were 2,481 properties to rent in Bucks – 152 had been added to the list in the past 14 days.
Due to the lockdown they can only be viewed on line.
Average rent for a one-bed on letting agents’ books in the county this week is £879 a month, £1,110 for a two-bed, £1,379 for a three bed, £1,814 for a four bed and £2,597 for a five-bed.
Typical cost for a rented property in Wycombe is £975 a month, £1,626 property in Marlow, £1,597 in Cookham, £2,113 in Beaconsfield, and £1,446 in Amersham.
To help the elderly and others self isolating in the local community, one agent in Hertfordshire has organised a team of volunteers to collect shopping and prescriptions.
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