The UK’s housing market has finally recovered its pre-crash strength according to the latest figures. Lending for July was up £2.7 billion, the third consecutive rise in mortgage credit being issued by banks after a sluggish end to 2014.
Banks approved a total of 68,764 mortgages for properties in July, up from 67,709 the month before and the amount of money going out to buyers is now at its highest since July 2008.
Yet we often talk of ‘strength’ simply in terms of the amount of money in the system and the ‘value’ placed on people’s properties. What exactly does a strong market mean for buyers?
As you’d expect from the sorts of numbers above, the activity in the UK property market is driving up prices and – as such – that means buyers do have to save more than ever in order to snap up the property of their dreams.
There’s no way around this but it does mean that buyers need to do all they can to cut down on other costs associated with a move. New online estate agents are threatening to overturn the traditional order in this field – and promise to make house sales quicker, cheaper and easier than ever before.
With the market so strong buyers and sellers would be foolish not to research every single way of trimming down the expensive purchasing process. Some are even choosing to team up with other buyers to pool their purchasing power and overcome the hurdle of a hefty deposit.
That last point hits at the heart of what’s now required of the modern buyer.
Buyers in a strong market need to be savvier than ever. The good news is the tools are there. Websites can help to deliver regular updates on house prices in the postcode you are looking to invest in, giving buyers accurate information about the ‘going rate’ and helping them to unearth bargains.
While many banks do still have tight lending restrictions, strength in the market does, at least, mean competition among lenders. This means buyers can benefit from decent mortgage deals – with the chance to trim down fees and interest rates. Smaller lenders have helped to fuel this contest, leaving buyers with more options to explore to finance their purchase.
There’s no point denying the fact that the housing market is a tough place to be for a buyer – especially a first timer. What all househunters need to do is accept that they are faced with a challenge and do three things. Firstly, they need to work harder than ever to research the whole process from top to bottom. Secondly, they need to open their eyes to the opportunities offered by new online companies to cut the associated costs of a house sale. Finally, they need to embrace one of the benefits of a strong housing market – namely competition among lenders – in order to secure the most feasible course of repayments.
It’s tough for buyers – but a strong market needs a blend of hard work and opportunism.