Despite the lowest monthly growth since June last year, January still saw prices rise to record highs.
Halifax, a major lender, commented “Despite record levels of first-time buyers stepping onto the ladder last year, younger generations still face significant barriers to home ownership as deposit requirements remain challenging,” said Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax.
These deposit requirements are particularly onerous and not just for the fact that “saving” itself is likely to become harder as the cost of living climbs even higher.
With competition and “risk” gauged by agents when offers are received, the likelihood of down valuation (and therefore further negotiation and disappointment) seems greater the smaller the deposit.
Last year, with more first time buyers entering home ownership than any year previous, this influx of “new” buyer certainly fuelled the market.
Now, with demand still outstripping supply, estate agents seem still buoyed by the fact that “buyers” are not the challenge.
“Though price growth is slowing, these figures demonstrate the underlying strength of the market and how likely it is to withstand increasingly stretched affordability,” said Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former Royal institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) residential chairman.
Nicky Stevenson, managing director at estate agent group Fine & Country, said the lack of properties coming up for sale would continue to underpin the market.
“The key driver of growth at present is the fact that the supply of housing stock remains so low, and without a strong injection of new listings, a correction in the market is unlikely to happen just by magic,” she said.
“Signs that stock levels may improve in the coming months remain only tentative, and in the meantime the clamour for homes nationwide remains undiminished.”
Personally, growth and price rises are not gold and silver to me. Stock, sensible pricing and affordability are key.
The market needs first time buyers and thankfully, if last year is anything to go by, they somehow made it happen.
Over valuing and driving prices northwards is not in anyone’s interest now.
A committed and excited buyer certainly is though.