The property market is bouncing back but the stakes couldn't be higher - analysis by property expert Jonathan Rolande

The property market is bouncing back but the stakes couldn't be higher - analysis by property expert Jonathan Rolande

Britons discuss house prices

Jonathan Rolande

By Jonathan Rolande

Published: 22/02/2024

- 09:49

Updated: 22/02/2024

- 09:52

What does the next month hold for the property market? Property expert Jonathan Rolande explains why a general election is the last thing the housing market needs

The stakes right now couldn’t be higher. After a very difficult 2023, the housing market is bouncing back.

Prices are stabilising in many areas. Banks are lending. A healthy amount of property is coming onto the market.

And sellers, who market their property at the right price, are securing quick sales.

Ask anyone who works in the sector, and they will tell you the same thing - they are busy and they expect to stay busy over the next four weeks.

Houses for sale signs / terrace houses in UK

The property market is bouncing back, an expert reveals


In many ways the last thing the market needs is a general election.

On March 6, Rishi Sunak and the Chancellor will be doing all they can to save their electoral skins.

And, despite largely ignoring the housing market in recent years, they look set to draw up a huge series of tax-funded giveaways. Most will be pitched at first-time buyers.

They will look great on paper and they may help narrow the polls and land some favourable newspaper headlines.

But in reality, all they will do is transform the housing market into a turbo-charged game of musical chairs. Thousands more people may sign up to play.

Yet they will be fighting to get themselves onto the same number of chairs.

You see that’s the reality right now - when the music stops: there aren't enough houses to go around.

And unless - or until - our politicians come up with long-term, structural policies designed to tackle this we will end up back at square one.

More forward-thinking ideas are what we really need to see in the Budget.

And it would help build on the sense of positivity many working in the market currently feel. In 2023 a lot of property on the market would just never sell, irrespective of price.

But that stagnation is now over. We’re not enjoying a property boom, but if you put something on the market at the right price it will be snapped up. The Bank of England has stopped rising interest rates.

And swap rates, the benchmark for fixed mortgage rates, are sitting at a good level. Inflation has been tamed.

Wages have grown, and house prices haven’t. In some areas, they have even fallen a little bit which is helping to bridge the mortgage affordability gap.

Property expert Jonathan Rolande

Property expert Jonathan Rolande shared his analysis


Will that continue over the next four weeks? Yes. I suspect house prices will remain pretty stable in most areas for at least the next three months.

If they do start to creep back up it won’t be until the end of the year at the earliest.

The rental market is adding buyers to the system too. It’s still very competitive and frankly, many properties are ridiculously overpriced to rent in many areas forcing would-be tenants to consider buying instead.

So because the market is in ok shape, it’s vital politicians don’t ruin it.

My message to Mr Sunak and Jeremy Hunt is to be responsible ahead of the Budget in March.

Yes, it might be the last chance to save their political futures. But that doesn’t give them the right to cause an imbalance in the housing market which will overheat prices in the way we saw post-pandemic.

Such a move risks taking down the property market. And when that happens the entire country goes down with it. That's why right now the stakes just couldn't be higher.

Jonathan Rolande is a property expert from the National Association of Property Buyers

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