What’s Happening in the UK Property Market: September 2023

Interest rates have finally been frozen, rental costs have hit new highs and sadly mortgage arrears are on the rise. Read on to find out the latest on all this and more.

UK Interest Rates Frozen

After 14 straight increases, the Bank of England has announced a freeze on their base interest rate, which remains at 5.25%.

The surprising move has already had a positive impact on property buyers and homeowners who will be remortgaging in the coming months. Nationwide was the first major lender to reveal a reduction in mortgage rates, with other lenders expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

The surprising move by the Bank to freeze rates, comes after inflation was revealed to have slowed to 6.7% in August – a far bigger fall than was expected, but still a long way above the Bank’s 2% target.

Rental Prices Hit New Highs

The Telegraph reports that the growth in rental prices hit a new record high as the national rental crisis deepens, official data shows. Rents in London rose by 5.9pc year-on-year, the fastest pace since records began in 2006, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Across the UK, rent growth hit a new high for the sixteenth month in a row, with costs climbing by 5.5pc. The jump in rental costs has been so great, that the increase in the past 12 months is higher than the increase over the four years from 2015 to 2019. 

Several factors have contributed to the sharp increase, including higher mortgage rates for landlords, which have been passed on to tenants, as well as demand for rental properties continuing to far outweigh the supply available.

Value of UK Mortgage Arrears Jumps by a Third

The Bank of England has revealed that mortgage arrears across the UK climbed by almost a third in the period from April to June this year, when compared with the same period in 2022.

Their figures have revealed that outstanding mortgage debt in the UK is now £16.9bn, the highest since 2016.

Mortgage rates have risen sharply in the past 12 months, with the typical rate on a fixed mortgage deal currently hovering around the 6% mark, although the freeze in the Bank of England’s base interest rate should see that figure come down slightly.

While some experts are forecasting mortgage defaults to rise further, many point to the fact that the number of homeowners who are unable to repay still remains relatively low. 

According to the Bank, 16% of mortgages in arrears between April and June were new cases, which is a similar figure to the number from the first three months of the year. 

Average House Prices Fall by £14,000 in a Year

Last month saw the fastest annual rate fall in 14 years according to major lender, Halifax, with prices dropping by 4.6% in the 12 months to August.

The drop, which knocked around £14,000 off the average house price, was the biggest decline since 2009, as rising mortgage rates continue to have a major impact on buyers. 

The lender is expecting the falls to continue for the rest of the year, with prices having dropped 1.9% between July and August alone.

And it’s not just Halifax who have reported a major fall in prices. Fellow major lender, Nationwide, also revealed their biggest fall since 2009, but their figures represent an even bigger percentage decrease, of 5.3% over the same 12-month period to August.

The Cheapest Places to Rent a Home Revealed

With rental costs reaching new highs, a study by property portal, Zoopla, has revealed the cheapest areas in the UK to rent a home.

The North East came out on top, where average rents are £649 per month, followed by Northern Ireland, where it’s £749 per month. 

Unsurprisingly, London came bottom of the list. Average rents in the capital have climbed to £2,053 per month – the only part of the UK where rent is more than £2,000 per month. For context, the next highest part of the country to rent in is the South East, where the average cost is £1,254 –  around £800 cheaper than the capital. 

However, while London leads the way for rental costs, it’s actually Scotland that saw the biggest increase over the past 12 months. Prices there rose 12.7% over the past year, but with average rents of £748 per month, it’s still some way behind the capital in monetary terms.

For more local property market news and updates and a more detailed overview of the East London area, get in touch with Lyss Homes. We are your local property experts. Call us on 02080505452 or email info@lysshomes.co.uk.

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