Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When is the Right Time to Buy a House?

Knowing when the right time can be to buy a house can depend on a number of different factors; you need to be aware of changes in the UK property market, as well as of the availability of different mortgages. At the same time, it’s crucial to consider your short and long term personal finances, and whether you’ll be able to buy a house and then be able to build up its value over time. There are also some timing issues that need to be worked out when deciding on a house purchase. 

While the UK property market is still not out of recession, the continued resilience of the London market and the capital’s house prices is having a gradual impact on nationwide prices, with London having experienced a 0.7 per cent increase in property prices in February. Other rises in house prices have been down to some fluctuating sales costs, which are going through a period of gradual improvement and stalling - the average price for a house in the UK is around £213,710 which represents a small growth on previous years. 

You should also be aware of the different schemes set up by the Government to help first time and existing house buyers to lower the costs of mortgages and get them onto the property market. The most recent of these schemes is Help to Buy, which will offer house buyers a 20 per cent deposit loan on top of their own 5 per cent contribution - these loans will be interest free for the first five years, and set at a rate of 1.75 per cent thereafter. The Government are similarly offering home buyers a guarantor scheme for mortgages, with banks being encouraged to offer higher value loans. 

When looking for a mortgage, the right time to get one can depend, then, on how cautious or optimistic banks and other lenders are at any given time; the Help to Buy scheme, which follows previous efforts to raise confidence in the property market, should help reduce risk for lenders. However, the mortgage market is still fairly stagnant, with only marginal increases in borrowing, and more repayments made than new loans taken out in February 2013. 

For most people, then, there is no ideal time to buy a house, but rather a climate of caution that needs to be carefully explored; you’ll need to make sure that your personal finances are strong enough to cover at least a 5 per cent deposit, and that you can cover stamp duty, conveyancing and other fees, which can quickly add up. Look ahead to consider whether your wages and savings can cover monthly mortgage payments and any renovation costs. 

You can make things a bit easier on yourself, though, by looking to buy a new property in Winter-time, where prices tend to be a bit lower as demand falls. Speak to estate agents about offers, and look into options where sellers may be unable to wait until the Spring for a potentially higher price. Similarly, watch out for new mortgage deals and interest rate changes for the start of the new financial year from the 6th of April, if you want to see if banks are willing to lend more at reasonable prices. 

Author bio: Liam writes about finance, from estate agents in Ipswich to mortgage rates. He attends regular finance seminars to ensure he stays on top of the industry.

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