A market update – Tim Stephens, Chesterton Humberts, Norwich

Residential property in the UK is at the moment perceived as good value, particularly when considering the value of sterling. There is a demand for income generating properties for an ever increasing number of City traders who have lost – or anticipate losing – their jobs in the financial markets. They are looking for a change of lifestyle, where they can be in control of their own destiny. Families are releasing capital from their London/Home Counties properties and buying in better value areas – East Anglia being one of them.

What is happening in the market? Investors are coming back in the belief that property prices are bumping along the bottom and will rise. A shortage of stock and a rise in recent house price indicies data support their hunches. Many first time buyers are willing, but unable to buy because of the amount of equity needed for a deposit. Historically, inflation has fuelled the property cycle. The policy of quantative easing must surely see inflation play its part again….or will it ? Aren’t we in a changing world where borrowing will never be the same again; where lending will revert to three times income rather than five and six times or more? Are we going to follow the stagnant Japanese economy? No, we believe house price inflation will return, but moderately. We are an

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island with a limited supply of housing; new start ups are way behind the government and HBA’s assesment of demand, which must place pressure on prices. In the shorter term, would be-sellers, like rabbits caught in the headlights of the economic gloom, are holding back, resulting in a shortage of stock. Banks will need to play their part, but buyers are there.

Tim Stephens is on 01603 66119.

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