Have Interest Rates Peaked and What’s Happening With The Property Market?
In the last few weeks we’ve seen many mortgage lenders reduce rates on their fixed rate products, with reports of a ‘rate war’ between the big lenders, and the best 5 year and 2 year fixed rates now just under 5%. So have interest rates peaked? And what does this mean for the property market?
If you take the average of economists’ predictions for the next 18 months you get a picture suggesting that the Base Rate will stay where it is for much of 2024, with the possibility of reductions of 0.25%-0.50% towards the end of the years and in to 2025. There are no big rate cuts expected, so we’re being told to get used to these interest rates as they’re here to stay.
That said, the price at which lenders offer new Fixed Rate mortgages isn’t linked directly to the Base Rate, these are more closely linked to swap rates (or SONIA), the benchmark rates at which money is lent on the financial markets. Swap rates will often move in anticipation of future trends, so as we’ve seen over the last few months, if the markets think pressures are easing, we see new fixed rate pricing reduce, even though the Base Rate isn’t going down.
Now that’s all quite technical, so what does it mean for the real world? How might this affect your future plans, the property market and your own home’s price. I sat down with Chris Thew, Sales Director of Mishon Mackay Estate Agents, one of the biggest and longest established independent estate agents covering Brighton, Hove & Mid-Sussex, to get the lay of the land. Here’s what Chris had to say:
“I’m pleased to report positive developments that suggest a better outlook moving into 2024. Over the past few weeks we have observed encouraging signs of recovery, with green shoots emerging and heightened buyer activity. The overall sentiment in the market is notably stronger, signalling a renewed confidence among potential homeowners. Particularly encouraging is seeing a greater number and the re-entry of First Time Buyers into the market, marking a positive shift after a period of cautious observation.
Another noteworthy trend is the increasing alignment of offers to asking prices, indicating a more balanced and competitive market. While there are still instances of price reductions, this reflects motivated sellers keen on facilitating transactions. Notably, we have seen a modest decrease in property fall-throughs, suggesting a more stable and reliable market environment.
Looking ahead, we’re optimistic about the coming months, with a pipeline of properties ready to be launched in January. The anticipated momentum of green shoots is expected to persist, further contributing to the positive trajectory we have witnessed. While we acknowledge the presence of challenges, our outlook remains both optimistic and realistic, reflecting the landscape in Brighton, Hove, and Mid Sussex”
If you have any questions on the current local property market, then please call Chris on 01273 416732 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Murphy – 4th December 2023