The Property Market in 2014
David Boyd, Managing Director, PAD4U Estate and Letting Agents:
It is at this time of year that I bring out my crystal ball to look at what the property market is likely to bring in the year ahead. In 2013 I predicted a steady market and although London and the South East have certainly outperformed, the general picture looks more muted (with all other regions having failed to beat inflation since 2003 - source Rightmove Blue Book vol 2). I also predicted a general narrowing of the gap between London/South East and other regions. Whilst this has yet to bed in, there is growing evidence that regions outside of London/South East are beginning to pick up the pace and I reiterate that investors are likely to be looking to the regions for better opportunities for yield and capital gain and it is here that we feel the market is likely to outperform in 2014. PAD4U reiterate their tip that Manchester is likely to perform.
Overall, the picture looks very rosy going into 2014. For a skeptic there are very few clouds on the horizon in the short to medium term. Inflation looks under control, growth looks healthy going forward, unemployment is down, the markets seem content with the Government's economic policy, the Government is committed to seeing a recovering housing market especially with elections around the corner, banks are beginning to ween themselves from Government backing (although RBS will remain ours for sometime to come), the market is being driven by First Time Buyers (which is either healthy or not depending up on your viewpoint) and householders are continuing to readdress the balance and pay down their mortgages, etc., etc. Also, we're unlikely to see an exodus from the rental market from First Time Buyers getting on the housing ladder as lenders' criteria are still very tight.
For those looking longer into the horizon, they will recall the UK's supposed export led recovery clearly hasn't materialized and with sterling strengthening and the eurozone still in the doldrums we are unlikely to see the economy re-balanced any time soon. Mark Carney is likely to continue to distance the Bank of England from the Government's housing policy and we can't rule out interest rate rises in the next year - although with N&P offering a 10 year fixed at less than 4% albeit at 75% LTV, nobody is banking on interest rates getting out of control. However, with households and the Government still highly geared any increase in interest rates could cause considerable pain (which depending on your viewpoint makes them less likely). The other long term risk is council led red tape and licensing schemes which tend to be ill thought out and mismanaged. There appears to be little appetite to do the job properly and ensure all letting agents must be licensed via ARLA or appropriate schemes - this being far too simple and easy; therefore landlords need to be aware of any mad hat Council plans when making their investment decisions.
2014 is likely to be be a golden year for property investors, if you are looking to build your portfolio or looking to refinance mortgages to take advantage of competitive deals, we offer free and impartial advice, just email [email protected]