We have seen a down turn in the number of transactions taking place over the last year; traditionally, the Spring is the time when the property market is most active. Figures for February were significantly lower than the same time last year. But, things are looking up, as the number of transactions rose by 21% over the last month! March’s figures were 102,740; the highest recorded this year, according to HM Revenue and Customs.
Lending also rose by 19%, to £21.4bn in March, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. These figures are somewhat misleading, as this is largely people re-mortgaging to take advantage of the lower interest rates available.
The problem we still face is activity is dismal among buy-to-let investors and current homeowners moving up the ladder. The fall in activity among buy-to-let investors, down 42% on last year, creating an opportunity for first time buyers, who face less competition. But the current homeowners are sitting tight, we need them to trade up, to free up property lower down the ladder.
These indicators are looking brighter, maybe we are getting back on track. But, there remains much caution among property owners, will the snap General Election affect the market. Chances are it will again reduce transaction volumes, due to raised levels of uncertainty, the last thing we need right now. But perhaps over the longer term we will see greater economic and political stability.