Mortgage Advice Column: Housing market has prospered says broker

By Nicola Findlay

Hello and a very Happy New Year to everyone.

2021 seemed to arrive and then be over in a flash, with Covid still hanging over us, it was really intriguing to see the property market continue to prosper and at times become extremely competitive, especially for first time buyers trying to get on the property ladder.

The good news is expectations are it will calm down slightly, which should reduce the prices of properties therefore making it easier to secure your next, or first, dream home.

The removal of Help to Buy and First Home Fund, as well as the Stamp Duty threshold returning to normal, will have an impact on this for 2022.

We had so many clients ready to buy with Agreements in Principles in place but kept being outbid time after time during 2021, so hopefully this should become less of an occurrence in 2022.

The housing market has been sizzling (Getty Images)

Looking at some of the figures from the Registers of Scotland website, there were nearly 107,000 properties sold in Scotland up to November 2021 – almost 12,500 of which were sold in South or North Lanarkshire, accounting for almost 12 per cent of transactions in the country.

So the market is certainly still open for business in our local area and in fact showing excellent progress even during a global pandemic.

The average house price in Scotland now sits at around £181,000, which is actually an increase of 11 per cent year on year.

So if you currently own your own home and fancy a move, this year could be perfect timing to take advantage of this.

It could mean that the equity you have left over, once your mortgage is paid off, allows you to get a new home which is bigger and better, or help you downsize and provide you with some savings to invest for your future.

I’m often asked what I think will happen with interest rates in the next year or so and I wish I could provide a guaranteed answer, unfortunately we’re not privy to these big decisions and it’s left to the Bank of England (BoE) to decide on a monthly basis if they’re going to change the BoE Base Rate.

This effectively means overall rates on mortgage will increase if they go up and rates should go down if they reduce it.

We’ve been lucky that there’s been no significant changes to the base rate in recent times.

It was sitting at 0.1 per cent for well over a year, however last month did see the first increase since August 2018, yet it’s still sitting comparatively low than previous years gone by at 0.25 per cent, meaning mortgage rates are still very competitive in the market.

The one thing I would advise anyone who has a mortgage to do is check very soon what type of rate you’re on, if you’re on the lenders ‘Standard Variable Rate’ then get in touch quickly with a mortgage broker to discuss your options, before we potentially see any further rate rises this year and you’re left paying more than you should be for longer.

With the pandemic still causing a lot of issues in all walks of life, it’s difficult to predict exactly how the property market will turn out in 2022, but if it’s anything like 2021 then we’re in for another rollercoaster ride.

Hope that’s been useful and see you all next month, Happy New Year and all the best.

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