Posts with tag: Enness Global Mortgages

Despite house price growth, mortgage approvals continue to rise

Halifax has released its latest House Price Index, revealing that house prices continue to rise. Mortgage approvals have also increased, reaching the highest levels since October 2007.

Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax, comments within the report: “The average UK house price is now approaching £250,000 after September saw a third consecutive month of substantial gains. 

“The annual rate of change will naturally draw attention, with the increase of 7.3% the strongest since mid-2016. Context is important with the annual comparison, however, as September 2019 saw political uncertainty weigh on the market. 

“Few would dispute that the performance of the housing market has been extremely strong since lockdown restrictions began to ease in May. Across the last three months, we have received more mortgage applications from both first-time buyers and homemovers than any time since 2008. 

“There has been a fundamental shift in demand from buyers brought about by the structural effects of increased home working and a desire for more space, while the stamp duty holiday is incentivising vendors and buyers to close deals at pace before the break ends next March. 

“It is highly unlikely that the housing market will continue to remain immune to the economic impact of the pandemic. The release of pent up demand and indeed the stamp duty holiday can only be temporary fillips and their impact will inevitably start to wane. And as employment support measures are gradually scaled back beyond the end of October, the spectre of increased unemployment over the winter will come into sharper relief. 

“Therefore, while it may come later than initially anticipated, we continue to believe that significant downward pressure on house prices should be expected at some point in the months ahead as the realities of an economic recession are felt ever more keenly.”

Read Halifax’s full House Price Index report here.

Property industry reactions

Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at national estate agent group Fine & Country, has commented: “The property market has been basking in its own economic microclimate lately, characterised by a relative feeding frenzy for larger, more expensive homes. 

“That’s unusual. Historically, the market has traditionally looked to first-time buyers for an indication of direction. However, it is existing homeowners with the buying power to spend more who have been driving house price growth over the past couple of months, fuelled by a desire for more space.

“The share of transactions being taken up by more expensive properties has grown and this role reversal has been responsible for the steep upward lurch in valuations. Increases in prices at this end of the property food chain have a disproportionate effect on house price statistics.    

“There will be a flip side though. When this extra demand for larger homes starts to return to normal, the annual rate of growth overall could sit down as quickly as it stood up. That said, demand is likely to continue to outweigh supply and significant outright falls in prices for any property category remain unlikely nationwide.

“The only caveat to that is the end of the furlough scheme. The Chancellor has been choosing his words carefully and seems deeply opposed to pulling the rug out from under the jobs market. That would be the biggest near-term source of weakness and it remains a larger threat than Brexit.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, has said: “The often-frothy Halifax index has lived up to its reputation and is pushing the bounds of credibility here. 

“However, it underlines just how much the housing market has become the economy’s iron lung of late, while its other vital signs flash amber at best. 

“The market’s rate of climb has been as steep as it has been artificial so don’t expect this to last. The three main drivers remain in play for now — homeowners moving to larger properties, stamp duty relief and pent-up demand, which is still being felt because of delays to the conveyancing and mortgage approvals process. 

“Buyers at the upper end of the market are confident but not careless, and owners of poor-quality stock are having to increasingly watch from the sidelines as their properties sit on the market for extended periods. This is a house price boom fuelled by aspiration, not loose money.”

mortgage approvals
Despite house price growth, mortgage approvals continue to rise

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “It’s now abundantly clear that the market has not only shrugged off any pandemic induced symptoms but has also well and truly waved goodbye to the prolonged uncertainty caused by Brexit. 

“Of course, any knee-jerk restrictions imposed by the Government in the coming months could result in a case of one step forward, two steps back where price growth is concerned. 

“It’s therefore imperative that we allow the industry to remain operational to service the overwhelming levels of buyer demand seen in recent months. Failing to do so could leave many buyers in lockdown limbo and cause house prices to plateau.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of Barrows and Forester, commented: “Yet further signs of a monumental market revival and one that continues to be fuelled by heightened levels of buyer demand. The questions is how much fuel is left in the tank? 

“It’s very likely that we will see this strong level of growth sustained as we see out the remainder of the year. However, with the furloughs scheme coming to an end, this could be the final swan song before a period of muted market activity. 

“The Government has played its hand in anticipation of this with the promise of 95% mortgages for those struggling to get on the ladder. However, even a 5% deposit may prove financially unviable for those struggling to find work. 

“So, while the outlook is certainly a bright one at present, there may well be dark clouds on the horizon. There’s no doubt the market can weather this storm, but its the duration and initial damage of that storm that remains to be seen.”  

Hugh Wade-Jones, Managing Director of Enness Global Mortgages, commented: “Homebuyers continue to take advantage of great mortgage rates where they can and this is allowing them to buy bigger and better with more space both indoors and out. Naturally, these homes command a higher price tag and this is helping to contribute to a much more buoyant rate of house price growth. 

“This is certainly a trend that’s being led by the top end of the market and by those with the financial stability to transact on these larger homes at the drop of a hat. 

“As this demand is met and starts to subside we will see these huge levels of top-line house price growth follow suit and a more ‘normal’ market landscape return.”

Colby Short, Founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, commented: “Home sellers continue to benefit from the uplift in buyer demand spurred by the current stamp duty holiday, with sold prices up across the board on a monthly basis with the exception of Scotland.

“This is being driven by the more affordable regions of the UK where the price threshold of £500,000 and the resulting stamp duty saving is more abundant and this is a trend that should remain consistent right through until next April.”

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, commented: “It’s quite easy to get carried away with the huge house price growth being shown at the front end of the transaction process via mortgage approvals and asking prices. However, the reality is that the market is moving at a far slower rate where actual sold prices are concerned. 

“Although prices have still gained positive ground, this likely to be a temporary hoorah and there is a very strong chance that this growth will recede rapidly come April once the sun has set on the stamp duty holiday.”

Adam Pigott, CEO of OpenBrix, commented: “We’ve seen a huge boost to market sentiment as a result of the current stamp duty holiday and it seems as though a second adrenaline shot may be administered in the form of a potential 95% mortgage for struggling homebuyers.

“Should this be the case, house price growth should remain consistently strong although it’s yet to be seen to what extent the end of the furloughs scheme may dampen this appetite.  

“Until this impact is felt, the market continues to fire on all cylinders and we are a world away from the catastrophic declines that many predicted at the start of the year.”

Industry reaction to the July Halifax House Price Index

The latest Halifax House Price Index reports that house prices have fallen for the fourth month in a row. However, there has been a surge in new mortgage enquiries.

The highlights of the Halifax House Price Index include:

  • On a monthly basis, house prices in June were 0.1% lower than in May 
  • In the latest quarter (April to June) house prices were 0.9% lower than in the preceding three months (January to March) 
  • House prices in June were 2.5% higher than in the same month a year earlier 

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, comments within the report“Average house prices fell by 0.1% in June as the UK property market continued to emerge from lockdown. 

“Though only a small decrease, it is notable as the first time since 2010 – when the housing market was struggling to gain traction following the shock of the global financial crisis – that prices have fallen for four months in a row. 

“Activity levels bounced back strongly in June, which is typically the busiest month for mortgage activity in the UK. New mortgage enquiries were up by 100% compared to May, and with prospective buyers also revisiting purchases previously put on hold, transaction volumes rose sharply compared to previous months. However, whilst encouraging, it remains too early to say if this level of activity will be sustained. 

“The near-term outlook points to a continuation of the recent modest downward trend in prices through the third quarter of the year, with sentiment indicators, based on surveys of both agents and households, currently at or around multi-year lows. 

“Of course, come the autumn, the macroeconomic landscape in the UK should be clearer and the scale of the impact of the pandemic on the labour market more apparent.

“We do expect greater downward pressure on prices in the medium-term, the extent of which will depend on the success of government support measures and the speed at which the economy can recover.” 

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, has commented: “Yet another contrasting medical examination of the UK property market and one that shows the impact of an industry-wide lockdown is still lingering with further monthly declines in house price growth.

“However, the positives are that prices remain higher on an annual basis despite the turbulent start to the year. This is a much better indicator of market health and one that should reassure the nation’s home sellers, as well as bolstering the surge of buyer demand that has already flooded the market since lockdown restrictions were eased. 

“We’re expecting to see a further boost in the form of a stamp duty holiday tomorrow, and while this has already drawn its critics, it will only act as a positive stimulus for the market in the long-term.”   

 Managing Director of Enness Global Mortgages, Hugh Wade-Jones, commented: “More positive news for the UK property market and hopefully the first of a double dose of good news this week.

“Unfortunately, it looks as though the top tier of the market will once again be shown the cold shoulder in terms of any stamp duty relief or otherwise. 

“However, we’ve seen a promising increase in market activity in recent months, and this has been driven of late by foreign buyers returning to the top tiers of the market, in particular. 

“While domestic activity remains the backbone of the UK property sector, it is this foreign investment that will help spur the market back to full health.

“Although it might take a little while longer to materialise at the top level, it bodes very well for the remainder of the year where overall house prices are concerned.”

Halifax House Price Index
Industry reaction to the July Halifax House Price Index

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: “The potential announcement of a stamp duty holiday by the chancellor tomorrow should help lift market sentiment, certainly where buyer demand is concerned. Of course, some are already forecasting that many buyers will hold off now to benefit later, causing a slump in the market as a result.

“While a valid point, it’s unlikely to send a market that is comfortably shifting through the gears into full reverse. The transaction process can be a long one, and it is doubtful that the average buyer will jeopardise their bricks and mortar aspirations, simply to save a few thousand pounds in stamp duty.

“The flip side to this is that with such demand already returning to the market, postponing a purchase until October could see the price of your chosen property increase in value, exceeding the saving you might have made. So any buyers considering such an idea would be ill-advised to take the risk.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at independent estate agents James Pendleton, said: “The typically more bullish Halifax index hasn’t disappointed. People remain confident despite the pandemic but the biggest threat to the market at the moment is the posturing going on in government over a potential Stamp Duty tax break. 

“The market will seize up if this continues. Ministers more intent on teasing than leading either need to introduce it or ditch it. The flying of kites only encourages people to hold off with their move. 

“If they don’t provide clarity, the recovery in the market, which by the Halifax’s reckoning is still powering ahead, will be put in doubt. 

“Two things have so far characterised the residential market since it reopened in mid-May. First, there were the overzealous bargain hunters who came crashing in demanding huge discounts and were quickly beaten back.

“We’re not hearing from that type of buyer anymore. Second, we’ve noticed a lot of buyers and sellers who had been frustrated by the pandemic’s shut down of the country showing huge determination to now get on with their move.

“It just goes to show that moving home is a marathon and not a sprint for most people, a decision often years in the making, and that is underpinning the annual growth still being registered by the Halifax in June.

“This confidence and robust overall demand bodes well for transaction volumes, and sensible offers provide some clue that a broad price correction is not on the cards at the moment.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated lettings platform, PlanetRent, said: “Today’s figures show potential green shoots of recovery with rising mortgage enquiries although it is clear lockdown and prolonged uncertainty are still having their effect and with no clear route out the pandemic yet, the for-sale market is likely to be subdued as buyers and sellers act cautiously and put off major financial decisions. 

“This is why government policies aimed at restimulating the housing market need to look beyond first-time buyers and existing owner-occupiers and tap into new sources of demand like buy to let landlords by scrapping the stamp duty surcharge they face. 

“With only the private sector predicted to keep on growing and the disruption caused by Coronavirus likely to cause a short-term spike in rental demand, the government could kill two birds with one stone by driving activity and meeting a growing housing need.

“Landlords are also an important source of development finance for housebuilders through off-plan sales and so cutting SDLT for buy to let investors could help housebuilding recover too.”