How the Henley property market fared in a difficult year
AS we ring in the new year, Standard property correspondent JACKY HAYLER spoke to some of the local estate agents about their thoughts on the 2013 property market — and their predictions what could prove to be an interesting year ahead.
JAMES BUTLER of Hamptons International, which has an office in Hart Street, said transaction levels have increased as mortgage finance became more available in 2013, but the volume of business still falls far below the market peak of 2007/8.
He said: “Improved mortgage availability combined with increased confidence and high expectations of future house price growth has encouraged new — and pent-up — demand to the market since the summer of 2012. In the face of a slow response of supply from both new-build and existing homeowners selling their homes, the housing market has seen rapid acceleration in house price growth.
“We expect these features to continue to characterise the market in the short term. Activity levels will rise as demand picks up, but with supply failing to keep up this will put pressure on prices, particularly in London and the South. However, underlying economic fundamentals will act as a brake on effective demand.”
He added that household finances will remain under pressure, despite economic recovery, and affordability will deteriorate as prices rise. Regulatory constraints on lenders will ensure that their risk appetite is contained and the threat of intervention from the Financial Policy Committee will add to their caution.