For most people, their home is the most valuable thing they will ever buy. So the current difficulties in the housing market are indicative of just how hard the economic times are in which we live. House prices are falling, so-called second steppers cannot afford to move up the ladder to larger properties, huge deposits are required to get a mortgage, and the list goes on.
Here, though, is a look at the positives of the property market. Far from an ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ view but hopefully, enough to show you do not have to completely despair and can find a solution for any property woes.
1. It’s a buyers’ market.
House prices are falling so if you are in a position to buy you can get more for your money. Sellers are having to drop their price or add extras to force a sale. It has been reported that sellers on average have dropped their prices by 2.4%. A buyer is in the position of strength in negotiations and can get a bargain. Mortgage lenders are also offering some record low rates to borrowers. Obviously, the difficulty is getting into a position to buy. You need a squeaky clean credit record, stable income and good deposit. However, persevering to getting into a position to buy could be very worthwhile. Imagine ten years down the line and a resurgence in the property market. Buying now could be the best thing you have ever done.
2. Sellers do not have to be held to ransom
It may be a buyers’ market but sellers do not have to give their homes away. It just requires harder work. The little things can make a huge difference. You can still get a good price by making sure that your home looks its best for potential buyers. First impressions or ‘curb appeal’ are important so do not forget the external part of the house. Instead of cutting the price it could also be worth making some renovations. Converting a garage or loft may help retain the value of the property and prove a good investment.
3. The Advantages of Renting
The rental market is now growing in the UK as people cannot afford to buy. This can be a huge positive. Rental is usually cheaper than buying so you can still put money away. Bills are generally cheaper too and you will not have to pay for all the maintenance. It also offers more flexibility, encouraging people to take on new opportunities should they arise. The quality of the properties is also better than ever. Renting may be the best option for you. Even if you are a homeowner at the moment. Renting may allow you to move to a bigger property and still save some money for the future. The importance of getting onto the property ladder is a very British mindset. In America and Europe renting is often viewed as better than buying.
4. Cheaper Labour
The cost of building labour has fallen which can be good news for homeowners and potential homeowners alike. The fall in cost means it could be a viable option to build your own home. With good planning it could even be better than buying and a novel way to get onto the ladder. For those already owning their home it could make home improvement more affordable. This could help to sell the property or for those that are ‘trapped’ in their current property it could make their home into somewhere they enjoy more and want to stay.
5. Housing Schemes and Online Help
The Government offers a variety of schemes in order to help movement in the property market. Equity loans, shared ownerships, Right to Buy schemes and the newbuy schemes may be an avenue to get you on the ladder. There are a range of sites offering good advice on how to get a mortgage, the best lending rates and novel ways to get bargain properties such as buying a repossessed house.
The housing market is bleak but, contrary to what the media would have you believe, not impossible. Finding the right move may require more work and creative thinking, but longer-term it could all be worthwhile.
By Michael Hallam
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