As the whole nation prepares to spend the next week enthusiastically celebrating the wonderful world of new homes, we thought this might be a good opportunity to take stock of the market and cross some optimistic fingers that we might all be headed in the right direction at last.
It can’t go unmentioned that the start of New Homes Week, September 12th, is two years to the day since the board of Northern Rock first asked the Bank of England for a “liquidity support facility” (a sub, to you and me), due to its exposure to bad debt in the American sub-prime mortgage market. Within a few days worried savers had withdrawn £2 billion from Northern Rock and in February of the following year the bank was privatised.
If we can see this event as the start of the enormous downturn we’ve all been enduring these last two years, perhaps it’s not too early to look back over more recent months and ask whether we aren’t starting to climb our way out of trouble: there aren’t many green shoots around yet, but are we starting to lay down their roots?
Housebuilder Magazine for one has found some fairly substantial reasons to be cheerful. Obviously there’s a vested interest here, but even considering the source, the news is significant nonetheless. Reported recently alongside a “reservation surge for Bovis”, a “sales boost for Taylor Wimpey” and a “reservations boost” for both Miller and Galliford Try, were the results of an online poll carried out by the magazine, according to which 86% of respondents believed the market had bottomed out.
For a less biased but still really rather positive view, we might look at the most recent figures posted by the Land Registry’s house price index, which recorded a month on month house price rise for August of 1.7%. Across the country the year on year movement is still in negative figures, but the performance in August has begun to chip away at this, and in Wales the average house price has even had a year on year increase, of 3.1%.
Elsewhere, the Nationwide has also reported a rise in prices, for the fourth consecutive month. The lender has recorded a 3.2% rise in the average sale price over the first 8 months of 2009 and highlights the quarter on quarter rise of 3.3% seen for August as the highest increase since February 2007.
So, we might not be all the way there yet, but good things do appear to be happening at last. A heady mix of low prices (an average of 17% down on January 2008’s peak), cheap – albeit still difficult to come by- credit, realistic valuations from private sellers, pent up demand and under supply seems to be doing the trick.
See you next time!!