Who’d have thought, this time a downbeat year ago, that 2013 would be the year the housing market finally re-gained its mojo
And yet, fast-forward to 2014, and a recovery is clearly well under way, with building society Nationwide just reporting that house prices across the UK surged by 8.4% over 2013.
While much of the upturn has been put down to London and the South East, other areas are also seeing some big price increases.
Meanwhile, the number of mortgage approvals made to home buyers lifted to over 70,000 in November, according to Bank of England figures, marking the highest number of loans given the green light since January 2008.
New research out from Halifax also suggests activity will show little sign of slowing down in the coming months.
More than half (51%) of people surveyed by the lender believe 2014 will be a good time to put a property on the market. This marks the first time, since Halifax’s regular housing market confidence tracker began nearly three years ago, that the proportion of consumers predicting the next 12 months will be a good time to sell a home outweighs those believing it will be a bad time.
The housing market’s recovery has been partly put down to Government schemes such as Funding for Lending and more recently, Help to Buy.
Funding for Lending has given lenders access to cheap finance on condition that they pass the benefits on to borrowers, while Help to Buy is specifically aimed at helping borrowers with small deposits onto, or up, the property ladder.
The Funding for Lending has now been refocused away from households and towards helping businesses instead, which could have a calming effect on the market.
Another quietener could be when stricter mortgage rules are set to come in this April, under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), to make sure there’s no return to irresponsible lending, and that people only take out loans they can pay back.
That said, this effect on current predictions should be small, because lenders have been anticipating these rules for a long time, and have already been adjusting their criteria accordingly.
So, with all these various factors and influences in mind, a few economists and housing market experts have been gazing into their crystal balls to see what’s in store for the housing market in 2014.