There has been a lot happening in the housing market recently, and it can be hard to keep track of the latest news and updates. The news might portray that the market is all doom and gloom, when in fact it isn’t.
Ahead of our free mortgage advise event on Saturday 30th September, we spoke to Scott Richford, Mortgage and Protection Advisor at New Homes Mortgages Limited, to ask his thoughts on the current housing market.
What is happening with mortgage rates at the minute?
So last week there was some very interesting news released; inflation was lower than expected and the bank of England base rate has surprisingly stayed where it was. There was an expectation that interest rates would rise, however this has not happened, which is great news! Last week, we also saw some more reductions from lenders in terms of interest rates, particularly at lower loan to value. Lenders have got money to lend, and because the market is that little bit quieter, they’re offering better rates. So, with inflation and base rates not going up and lenders wanting to be more competitive, I believe the housing market will have a positive finish to the year.
Would you say now is a good time to buy?
Obviously the most noticeable difference to buyers now is the higher interest rates, so people are going to potentially look at that as negative. However, the amazing deals that we are seeing from builders recently wouldn’t happen in a good market. Builders are offering deals such as 5% deposit contributions, additional extras, stamp duty paid, part exchange, assisted move, deposit unlock and many more.
So yes, I would say now is a good time to buy. It might not look like the best time to buy because of the higher interest rates, but you’ll have a great chance of getting a good deal from a builder now. So, whilst you may take a bit of a hit now by paying a higher interest rate, in a few years’ time when you come out of a fixed rate, interest rates will probably be a little bit lower, wages may have increased, the cost-of-living crisis may have slowed down, and you’ll be on the ladder, having got there using one of the many great deals that builders are offering.
And it’s not just builders that are trying to make buying a house more affordable, lenders are also trying their best too. Some lenders are now offering a maximum term of 40 years, which could be very helpful for buyers. Yes, 40 years might not sound great, but it doesn’t mean that it actually has to last 40 years. In a few years’ time, you may have had a pay rise or may now have a partner wanting to come onto the mortgage, both of which will knock the mortgage down to 20 years for example. But it’s a way to get onto the ladder which is the most important thing. Some lenders are even extending their terms to the age of 75, which again, will help people get onto the ladder.
Are things looking more positive in the market?
I think things are definitely looking more positive. Industry experts expected the base rate to go up this month and it hasn’t, so that’s extremely positive. I believe it’ll be a steady 2024, with interest rates and base rates probably not coming down until the back end of it, but it’ll be a competitive marketplace for lenders next year, giving you the opportunity to secure plenty of deals. Although I don’t have a crystal ball, I personally don’t think that interest rates will ever go back to how they were a few years ago. I think there will be a new norm of around 4%, however I don’t think we will even get there until 2025.
How are your customers feeling about buying a house at the minute?
The majority of people I deal with have already seen a house and are excited to buy and positive about it all. However, we have seen that the commitment is not as quick as it once was. For example, when interest rates were a lot lower, we would have an initial conversation with a buyer and then five days later they had reserved. However, we are now finding that the gap between the first conversation and reserving is around 15 days, which I can only believe to be because of the current climate. For current homeowners, this could also be because it’s taking longer for people to sell their existing home.
What would you say to somebody looking to buy a house in the current climate?
I’d say if you can move now, you’re in as good as position as you’re probably going to be, because things will hopefully only get easier for you in terms of interest rates reducing in the future. I agree that the initial rates might not seem the greatest, but if you can get on the ladder now whilst house prices have flattened off a little bit and whilst you’re getting a good deal from a builder, then I think in real terms it will only get better for you.
If you’d like to speak to Scott, then he will be attending our mortgage event at Spencer Grange, Skipton, on Saturday 30th September. As well as free mortgage advice from Scott, we’ll also have Chris Blackburn, the reigning World Yorkshire Pudding Champion, demonstrating how to make the perfect Yorkshire Pud and providing cocktails for all visitors.
If you would like to book this event, please call our Sales Advisor Lorna, on 0113 357 1201 or email email@example.com.
We hope to see you there!