House prices continue to soar but there are clouds on the horizon

Just like Nationwide building society before it, Halifax has become the latest lender to confirm that August saw property prices hit record highs. Remarkably, even though we are still living with a pandemic, the housing market continues on its upwards trajectory, smashing all previous records.

Halifax said prices rose by 5.2 per cent in the past year, the strongest rate of growth since 2016. The average house price in the UK is now £245,747, the first time it has ever exceeded £245,000. Last week, Nationwide said prices hit a record high in August of £224,123, some £8,000 higher than in February before lockdown hit.

These increases in values have been put down to pent-up demand hailing from those years where Brexit meant people sat on the fence and put decisions to move on hold. This, coupled with time spent under lockdown when many people came to realise their home was too small for their needs, plus the stamp duty holiday, has resulted in a surge of interest in the housing market that nobody predicted.

Before we get too carried away, both lenders warn that it’s highly unlikely this rate of growth will continue, with the end of the furlough scheme in October and mortgage payment holidays coming to an end. Lenders remain keen to lend but mainly to those with large deposits or similar amounts of equity in their home. Some mortgage applications are being scrutinised particularly closely – mainly those from self-employed borrowers and contractors, as well as first-time buyers and those requiring high loan-to-value mortgages.

Advice is more important than ever; this is where a whole-of-market broker such as AWS Financial Services can help, ensuring you get the right mortgage for your circumstances. Do get in touch for more information.

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