As we begin the month of November and are hopefully putting more distance between us and the pandemic, we thought it would be helpful to look at the current situation of the mortgage market.
According to the latest ONS House Price Index, average UK house prices increased by 10.6% over the year to August 2021, up from 8.5% in July. The average house price was £264,200 in August 2021, which is £25,200 higher than this time last year, following the record high of £265,000 in June 2021. Average house prices increased over the year in England to £281,000 (9.8%), in Wales to £195,000 (12.5%), in Scotland to £181,000 (16.9%) and in Northern Ireland to £153,000 (9.0%).
Lenders certainly reduced the supply of mortgage products early in the pandemic, however the re-emergence of high loan to value mortgages has helped fuel the increase in purchase activity. Although the stamp duty holiday ended on 30th September, buyer demand has increased in September and remains above pre-pandemic levels.
The number of transactions have increased, both mortgage-financed and cash transactions and the number of mortgages being issued are also on the increase. The increase in house prices has been primarily driven by a jump in deposits which could be due to ‘excess’ savings during the pandemic. Surveyors also believe that sales volumes will hold steady over the next three months but given the limited stock, prices could rise further.
We can therefore expect the intense competition we have seen over the last few months in the mortgage market to continue which should help to keep down the cost of borrowing in the short-term. “That being said, we have seen a number of lenders reprice some mortgages upwards over the last few weeks however, at the moment we are seeing this as more of a ‘readjustment back to more “normal” levels after a short mortgage price war’,” according to Chris Lees, our Mortgage and Protection Director.
A year ago, we were concerned that we could be heading for a period of high unemployment and deflation. We are however, seeing a fall in unemployment and rising inflation.
This increase is mainly due to two increases in the energy price cap this year, rise in the reduced VAT of 5% to 12.5% in hospitality and attractions section, on-going shortages and base effects in the calculation will add further upward pressure on prices.
“A combination of product shortages, labour shortages, wage growth and fuel and energy price rises will put upward pressure on inflation according to the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. It is this that in the longer term may lead to an increase in mortgage costs,”Chris Lees, Mortgage and Protection Director.
Bank Base Rate
It feels like only a few months ago we were looking at the prospect of negative interest rates, yet the picture now points more to an increase in BBR, possibly even before the end of this year. Some financial market analysts think there is a 90% chance of this happening in December however this needs to be a delicate balancing act as the Bank will not want to stifle the current economic recovery.
For anyone with a mortgage currently, we would suggest that if they have not already reviewed the options available to them that they do so without delay. “There are still many mortgage holders who are on variable rates who could be impacted negatively by an increase in rates,” says Chris Lees, Mortgage and Protection Director. “Additionally, there are many people who are approaching the end of their current fixed rate deal and rather than leave securing a new deal until the end we would suggest they start talking to their adviser up to six months beforehand with a view to securing as good a deal as possible while they still can” he continues.
We believe that many will be considering their mortgage arrangements with a view to remortgaging over the next six months and this will become the largest sector of the mortgage market. So, if you are interested in talking to us about your remortgage options or the deals available from your current lender via a product transfer, then please get in touch.
*Please note: Your home maybe repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.