Market tough but things are looking up

Steve Hinshelwood, MD of Blundells
Steve Hinshelwood, MD of Blundells

There’s no denying that times are still tough in the residential sales market butaccording to Blundells’ managing director Steve Hinshelwood, things could be starting to look up.

“Ask the man on the street his opinion on the current state of the nation’s housing market and you’ll most likely get a response that is filled with doom and gloom.

“And, with the country’s economic climate as it is, you’d be forgiven for believing him.

“However, things could be starting to look up when it comes to residential sales and a feeling of optimism – albeit cautious – is beginning to seep through the industry.

“The Chancellor revealed big plans for homebuyers in the Budget, pledging to help people get on or move up the housing ladder with the ‘Help-to-Buy’ initiative, made up of two schemes.

“The equity loan scheme, from this month, will see the Government loan up to 20 per cent of the value of a new build home.

“The ‘mortgage guarantee’ scheme, available for three years from January 2014, aims to incentivise lenders to make more mortgages available for people with small deposits.

“By effectively underwriting loans, the Government is easing the risk to the banks for providing higher loans to customers, in particular first-time-buyers who are the market’s foundation.

Details have yet to be finalised but in principle there’s reason to be optimistic that it will have a positive effect on the housing market and provide the boost needed to get people moving again.

“But it’s not all about new-builds. In some instances, we are seeing existing properties in particular areas of the city being snapped up in one or two weeks.

“For example, mid/upper range semi-detached and detached family houses between £200,000-£500,000 in the south-west of the city are seeing very high levels of demand from buyers with increased competition resulting in some multiple offers for properties.

“And, in other areas of the city where demand isn’t as high, we’re expecting things to pick up in the next couple of months.

“Everything from the cold weather to Christmas, and even the Diamond Jubilee last year has had an effect on the housing market – but traditionally we see a surge in people looking to buy or sell during the spring, as the weather improves and people start thinking about fresh starts.

“People shouldn’t be disheartened by the economic climate when it comes to making a move.

“Yes, the market isn’t in the ‘golden age’ that we experienced pre-recession, but the recent Government initiatives are already driving change and, if a property is priced to sell and is marketed in the right way, homeowners could be on the move quicker than they think.”