Half of estate agents in the UK are saying average selling prices are no longer coming in above-asking prices for properties worth up to £500,000, according to the latest UK Residential Market Survey (rics.org).
Freelancers would be wise then to put their negotiating skills to work to boost their chances of getting their dream property before interest rates go.
Those that have built up a considerable amount of equity in their existing property should have a sizeable cash deposit, which could put them in the market for a million-pound property, because according to Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, sellers of those properties are being forced to accept lower offers.
“Bidding wars are increasingly giving way to more cheeky offers, particularly on pricier properties…It’s another sign that the property market is starting to turn,” says Coles.
Sales are also falling, and agents expect them to keep dropping in the coming months.
“Meanwhile, after such a long time of ever-increasing buyer numbers, we’ve seen a second month where fewer buyers are on the hunt for a home,” says Coles. “House prices are still rising, though, because buyers still vastly outstrip sellers, but they’re starting to ease a little,” she says.
Plenty of agents are feeling the impact of less demand, according to the personal finance expert, while others are highlighting that even when people decide to buy, life continues to get harder, so more sales are falling through as they worry about job security and rising prices.
Some agents say that agreed prices are being renegotiated, she adds.
However, it’s still a very mixed picture, and some agents say it’s as busy as it has ever been, and some buyers are in a hurry to snap up a property before mortgages get even more expensive.
Coles warns that the rental market “remains horrible” – for both renters and landlords.
“The number of tenants is up again, including would-be first-time-buyers who are worried about the cost of living, and have decided to rent again instead,” she says.
“Meanwhile, the number of landlords has dropped for the third month in a row,” says Coles. “Some are warning that legislative changes are driving more landlords out of the market, so with nobody filling the gap, shortages are getting even worse. It means that agents aren’t expecting any let-up in rising rents.”
Self-employed mortgage news
Building society Nationwide will lend up to 5.5x loan to income (LTI) for certain categories of mortgages. Nationwide introduced a 5.5x LTI cap at the start of the month for house purchase applications, where the total applicant income is more than £100,000 a year.
Self-employed and equity share applications however will continue to use the existing lower LTI caps, Nationwide said. The previous cap was 4.49 times LTI.