Picture remains mixed for the housing market
According to Halifax, house prices rose modestly in February by 0.5%, contributing to a total increase of 1.9% over the last quarter. The average price of a house in the UK now stands at £163,000. In addition, a battle of fresh interest rates cuts by lenders over recent weeks means that mortgage rates are now at their lowest level in 24 years. Borrowers can now access the lowest two, three and five year fixed rates since 1989. Is this the beginnings of the green shoots of recovery?
At best, we should be cautiously optimistic. Mortgage rates may be at their lowest ever, but the lending criteria by which banks decide whether to approve a mortgage have become considerably tougher. Borrowers need a clean credit record, stable and sufficient income and, of course, a deposit. What’s more, there are still regional variations in house prices and frequently a large discrepancy between asking prices and sale prices.