Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments:
“As consumer demand holds strong, housing transactions have risen to their quickest pace in eighteen months. Although house prices are still rising, they are doing so at a far more moderate pace compared to last year, and more than two thirds of respondents to the RICS survey agree prices are at or below fair value. Combine this with record low mortgage rates and significantly improved product availability and it’s no surprise there has been a pick-up in housing activity.
“However, the market is not without its hurdles – the deficiency of available homes still threatens to derail recent progress. The number of new property listings has now fallen for thirteen of the past fourteen months, with a lack of stock cited as the main deterrent for would-be movers. A healthy housing market has movement all the way up the property chain, and this trend threatens to cause a logjam that will make it harder for first-time buyers to become homeowners.
“The creation of new homes is a clear priority for both industry and government, and it is encouraging to see the Conservative Party pledging to do more to increase levels of homeownership at this week’s Party conference. However, the 200,000 starter homes pledged must be in addition to current housebuilding levels if it is to make any discernible difference. The Government must also involve lenders in its discussions to create an effective long-term housebuilding strategy.”