Following the HMRC property transactions data (December) published this morning, Newspage have gathered the thoughts of brokers, estate agents and financial experts.
Their comments are below:
Dean Esnard, director at London-based Magni Finance: “Residential property transaction levels were down in December compared to November and that trend looks set to continue once the fallout from the mini-Budget feeds through into the data in earnest. That said, though transaction levels are currently far below what we are used to, there is growing optimism in the air. Lenders’ rates have been coming down almost as quickly as they increased so it feels like the worst is over. Despite inflation dropping slightly, the base rate is likely to rise again next month but lenders will have already priced this into current fixed rates, which are slowly nearing the 4% mark. These rates will keep the property market afloat and, with pent-up demand, I wouldn’t be surprised if house prices started to increase again at some point in 2023.”
Zaid Patel, director at London-based estate agents, Highcastle Estates: “Though this data shows what many expected, namely that transactions in December were lower than November, January has been an interesting month so far. The first week was fairly quiet then all of a sudden plenty of offers came in and those offers were being accepted. They were all accepted around 5%-10% below the asking price. Sellers seem to have accepted that they no longer hold all the cards and this could help stimulate the property market.”
Amit Patel, adviser at Welling-based mortgage broker, Trinity Finance: “Fixed rates have reduced since the beginning of the year but are nowhere near the mark they were before the ill-judged mini-Budget. Though transaction levels in December were down on November, I expect the housing market to pick up over the coming months and deliver opportunities for savvy buyers and investors. I expect prices will dip by around 8% overall in 2023. No doubt the Bank of England will increase the base rate again at the next MPC meeting to curb inflation, but it’s something that I don’t agree with.”
Graham Cox, founder of the Bristol-based broker, SelfEmployedMortgageHub.com: “While the mortgage and housing market fundamentals have changed radically over the past six months, we’re still seeing reasonable levels of buyer interest so far in January. Some sellers still have their heads stuck in the sand and are holding out for unrealistic ‘top dollar’ prices. Those vendors won’t be able to sell unless they get very lucky or have an exceptional property. My prediction is a 15%-20% fall in house prices this year, with a peak to trough decrease of around 30%. Until sellers accept the new reality, transaction volumes will remain under pressure.”
Justin Moy, founder at Chelmsford-based mortgage broker, EHF Mortgages: “While transaction levels dropped during the closing stages of last year due to the ripple-effect from the mini-Budget, there are still buyers out there. The alternative of private renting costs just as much as a mortgage payment, so if the deposit can be sourced, then there will continue to be a decent level of transactions this year. Not a record year by any means, but it will still be busy enough. There is a greater acceptance among the public that property prices in 2023 will stagnate or reduce, and that mortgage rates will hover around where they are in the short to medium term.”