The housing market remains busy. Compared to the last ‘normal’ market of 2019, buyer enquiries are up 31% and mortgage approvals and sales are up by 12% and 11% respectively. However, there are half as many properties available to buy and stock levels are down 55% (Rightmove, HMRC, Bank of England). The prolonged mismatch between demand and supply continues to support prices. On average, properties are selling subject to contract in just 31 days, the quickest time ever recorded. With competition for properties remaining high, Rightmove report that asking prices have hit their fourth consecutive record high in as many months.
Over 433,000 homes in the UK changed hands in the first four months of 2022, making this the third busiest start to a year since 2007. Last year was an exceptional year due to Covid-19 and 2016 saw a surge prior to the introduction of the 3% additional homes surcharge. Except for last year, April 2022 has been the busiest since 2007 (Dataloft, HMRC). An estimated one in every 20 properties has changed hands across the Thames Valley, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the past year. Milton Keynes is currently the most active housing market in the region.
A perfect storm
Economic headwinds are gaining momentum. Expectations of global and UK economic growth have been pared back, while consumer confidence has plummeted to its lowest level since records began in 1974. Optimism is weaker than during the global financial crisis, Brexit or Covid-19 (GfK). The Covid recovery, war in Ukraine and rising energy and food prices, alongside a strong labour market and low unemployment, have created a perfect storm. Inflation is pushing a 40-year high. Thanks to fixed-rate mortgages, many households are cushioned from the impact of the latest base rate rise, but day-to-day budgets are increasingly feeling the squeeze.
Double-digit property price growth remains evident in many localities in the region, with annual price growth in the South East currently stronger than it was a year ago (ONS, UK HPI). Across the South East there is less than two months of available stock left to sell, down by almost half on the historical norm.
Slow gear change
For many, the question is when, not if, the property market will start to moderate. However, any gear change is liable to be slow and steady, and not an emergency brake as was the case in the global financial crisis of 2008. Forecasters still anticipate positive price growth over the course of the year. Market fundamentals remain strong. A strong desire to move remains in the minds of many and there is a shortage of properties, compounded by data indicating that new home completions remain below pre-Covid levels and short of the government’s 300,000 homes target.
Properties for sale in Thames Valley
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, 4 bedrooms
This imposing four-bedroom detached forever family home is tucked down a quiet cul-de-sac within Middleton, a highly regarded area in the eastern region of Milton Keynes. Brief internal accommodation comprises an entrance hallway, guest cloakroom, study with access into the double garage, bay fronted living room, dining room, kitchen, utility room and large conservatory. The first floor offers four generously sized and well-proportioned bedrooms, en-suite and family bathroom. Externally the property boasts a private rear garden enclosed by mature trees, double width driveway and double garage.
Wraysbury, Middlesex, 4 bedrooms
This most impressive and immaculate detached family house is located in a sought-after location and just a short walk from the village centre. The accommodation includes entrance hall, cloakroom, lounge, dining room opening to a fully fitted kitchen/breakfast room with central island and a separate utility room. On the first floor there are four generous bedrooms, two en suite bathrooms and family bathroom. Set in delightful grounds approaching 0.2 acres with the rear garden extending 105 ft. To the front of the property there is a tarmac driveway providing parking for several cars and an integral double width garage. All set behind electric gates.
Kidlington, Oxfordshire, 3 bedrooms
A handsome family home occupying a generous plot and situated in arguably Old Kidlington’s best location, at the very end of Church Street. The property has been lovingly maintained and extended to create spacious accommodation over two floors.
As property prices and demand continue to rise, sell your property with experts in the property industry this spring. Contact your local Guild Member today.