Not too much red tape and media over reaction please.
We are midway through the property year and while the market seems to have steadied, once again property is big news. The headlines in our press and often lead items on television and radio news are about the housing market, what it's doing and what the future holds.
It is frustrating that so often journalists' comments refer to a market which does not really exist, but is a mix of markets in the north, the south, the east and west – plus that other country called “London”. In fact the property market is really made up of thousands of micro-markets and activity in London can upset the reporting figures.
Alarming statements about housing bubbles do not help much and now the Chancellor George Osborne and Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, have prepared measures designed to halt a headlong dive into another housing crisis. However, the increasing feeling of those who handle the property market every day for a living – estate agents - is that things might have already steadied themselves. Harsher mortgage lending criteria have slowed the numbers of loans and higher priced properties may be subject to a change to taxation policies in the future. Also, transactions are taking far too long. Why?
Yes, we need more housing with the release of more Brownfield sites. We need to relax some planning bureaucracy and foster responsible lending – and borrowing. A more enlightened approach to bringing life to our high streets through a greater residential element may help also.
There may be new challenges such as interest rates gradually increasing, hopefully in a sensitive and controlled way, but the bureaucrats must not issue too much red tape or negativity into the process and inadvertently take the heat out of a still recovering market. It’s a fact that prices have risen and houses are selling, but the deep recession was only a few years ago and the country needs the property market to be buoyant. The economy thrives on house sales and all the connected trades, professions and retail outlets. So the lenders and the Government bodies should be positive an optimistic and not try and dampen things down too much.
No one wants raging prices, housing shortages or owners in financial trouble, but a strong active market works wonders especially for the feel good factor and that produces its own spin offs. Remove the central London equation and we believe the market is ticking along just fine. If further meddling is minimal, the second part of the year will be as good as the first or even better- a balanced market with some really great opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Rising prices are good for some and not for others. It has always been that way.