I thought it prudent to let 2010 settle into its stride before pontificating on the likely performance of the new homes market looking ahead. But still it seems that the only certainty is uncertainty. Back in October 09 I wrote about the conflicting views that were being expressed by the pundits on the future of the housing market and since then I don’t think a lot has changed in terms of any clear pattern emerging regarding ongoing trends.
In many parts of the country supply levels are low both in the new homes sector, due to a combination of developers mothballing sites last year and build programmes being interrupted by bad weather, and in the resale market I think mainly due to prospective vendors not wanting to market their properties at what they perceive is a low point in respect of value. This factor, combined with relatively cheap money for those with a good credit rating, is having the effect of massaging demand.
However, talking of money, the situation isn’t going to be helped as we hear that Halifax is clamping down on borrowers with cheap mortgages, forcing them to switch to more expensive deals if they wish to move house and several other lenders hiking up their standard variable rate mortgages despite interest rates being kept on hold. Add into the mix ongoing concerns about job security and the likelihood that the Bank of England will pause its radical, money-printing programme known as quantitative easing and it all starts to look a little fragile.
So, putting my neck on the line and calling the new homes market for 2010 I will continue to stand by what I said back in October: “things will remain fairly level over the next year and I think most would settle for that; some stability in the housing market would benefit all concerned.”
At MMS we’re encouraging clients to hold their nerve and, as ever, we’re constantly looking at ways to make every marketing £ work that much harder as budgets are still very much under the microscope.
It’ll be very interesting to see how the year unfolds.