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It’s been a political roller coaster over the last few months. We have experienced growing economic uncertainty for UK households whilst seeing the cost of living having a massive impact on financial decisions.
So what does the new prime minister have at the top of his agenda when it comes to the housing market?
Naturally, people are hoping for more stability and calm. The arrival of Rishi Sunak as the new prime minister has been received well in financial markets, supported by several big policy U-turns from the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last week. The top priority for the new prime minister is getting the UK’s finances in order to help bring down borrowing costs for business and households. This will hopefully help tackle the cost of living crisis.
The health of the housing market is intrinsically linked to the health of the economy, in particular the cost of mortgages. These have soared to average over 6% over recent weeks. This has a big hit to the buying power of those looking to purchase property, especially when we’ve been used to below 2% mortgage rates.
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The cost of borrowing for government and business has fallen in the last 2 weeks. It is set to fall further in the weeks ahead as markets react to the Government’s messaging about balancing books.
Mortgage rates for new business are starting to fall but still remain much higher than where they started the year.
The outlook for interest and mortgage rates is still out of the Government’s hands.
Financiers still don’t know how much further central banks will have to increase base rates to calm inflation, which is adding to everyone’s cost of living. There is hope that we are approaching the end of interest rate increases though. This is good news for savers after a barren decade of low returns on savings. However, buying a home has become more expensive.
It appears that mortgage rates will return to 4-5% in 2023. But anyone looking to buy a home will never experience the days of ultra cheap property.Home Ownership
Both Labour and the Conservatives have stated policies to promote home ownership. However, it’s hard to grow home ownership without building more homes.
Michael Gove returning to housing and the levelling up of his ministerial role is a signal that the 2019 manifesto commitment remains to boost jobs and investments. This will, in turn, boost housing delivery.
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There are also big reforms planned in the private rented sector in England. These are aimed at improving standards of accommodation and altering the balance of relationship between landlords and renters.
The rental market is particularly stretched at present, with a lack of new investment by landlords. This was inevitable after big tax changes and increased regulations were introduced in 2016.
Since then, the rental market has stopped growing in size. However, the demand for renting is growing, made inevitable by the rising cost of buying a home.
Rents are rising fast: up 12% in the last year according to the latest Zoopla index. This is not helping the cost of living pressures.
Reform in the rental market is important but needs to be balanced against how much this pushes landlords out of the market, eroding supply and choice for renters. This hits those on the lowest incomes hardest
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