Promising signs that the property market is improving month on month have continued to pick-up pace, with a RICS residential market survey showing that sales have reached the highest point for three and a half years. Although the figures remain low in historic terms, the news will be greeted as a renewed sign of consumer confidence by those involved in the home buying sector. With the improved interest expected to increase over the normally busy summer months, surveyors are pointing to the spike in activity relating to wary buyers looking to return to try their luck in the market. Surveyors suggest that since May the average amount of enquiries for property purchasing has risen by as much as 30 per cent. This figure registers as the highest on record for four years, when in October 2009 new enquiries were hit with the onset of the financial crisis.
It is often expected that London based properties make up the biggest increases in the property value, but across the majority of the UK a reported five per cent increase has been stated by surveyors taking part in the report. Much of the emphasis for the increase in confidence is also being linked to the introduction of the Governments various help to buy schemes. While this has certainly improved interest, market experts feel it is too soon to be sure that the Governments schemes will have a long-lasting positive impact on the market.
The global residential director of RICS, Peter Bolton King, commented: ‘May was an interesting month for the housing market. More people decided to get out there and view property and more transactions went through than in quite some time. Most encouragingly of all, though, is that stability is not confined purely to London and the South East, as has been the case, but is now starting to extend to areas right across the country. There is still a very long way to go until we see a full scale recovery but green shoots are beginning to sprout.’
From a mortgage processing perspective, it has been reported that the surge in interest has impacted mortgage lenders and surveyors capabilities to meet consumer expectation. Simon Butler of Contractor Mortgages Made Easy said: ‘Pre-Easter of 2013, interest in the housing sector was steady, which meant that mortgage lenders were stating estimates for a mortgage offer of two weeks on average. However, over the past two months the considerable rise in interest has meant more applications are being submitted and lenders are working hard, but struggling to keep up.’
Butler continued to say that, ‘London based surveyors are currently returning estimates for a survey to be completed of at least two weeks from the point an application is submitted. The knock on effect of this is that the overall time for a lender to provide a mortgage offer is gradually doubling, with 4-5 weeks now not an unusual time frame.’
When asked why he felt lenders and their surveying partners were finding it harder to meet demand, Butler said: ‘Part of this appears to stem from lenders and surveyors not being completely prepared for the rapid increase in interest, and many have seemingly not replaced staff who were made redundant in recent times of lower activity.’
Article by: Jon Shields, Media Executive at Contractor Mortgages Made Easy
Media Contact: Raman Kaur, Public Relations Manager
Tel: 01489 555 080