When is the best time to buy a property? Sarah Edwards explains…

Are house prices set to fall?

The average price tag on a home has hit a record high for the fifth month in a row. Halifax notes that average house prices have now risen a staggering 74% over the last 10 years. However, there is hope for buyers struggling in this market. It’s recently been reported that house prices in Britain could fall by up to 10% ‘soon’ as rising interest rates cause property markets across the globe to crash. There is also a very strong correlation between GDP growth and house price growth and assuming this historic relationship holds true, we can expect house price growth to slow later this year, as GDP growth slows.

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Is there still high demand in the Cheshire property market?

Despite house prices currently being high, we are still very busy and haven’t seen much change in terms of demand in the Cheshire market. It remains competitive, but we have seen a spike in people wanting to downsize or relocate abroad meaning more property is coming onto the market.
Since the pandemic, demand has increased for properties with extensive outdoor gardens and additional rooms such as home offices and gyms, which Cheshire properties offer in abundance.

This week, we saw one Cheshire property get put on the market – 33 viewings and 48 hours later – it was sold! We’ve also seen a significant rise in London home buyers wanting to move to Cheshire. With home-working becoming more flexible, there’s no reason for workers to be paying London house prices when they can get much more for their money in Cheshire. Cheshire also benefits from improved transport links to outer cities and to the capital, with train journeys of less than two hours to Euston.

Should I buy now or should I wait?

My advice to first-time buyers? Some people, especially first-time buyers, will be hoping house prices will fall but there is no guarantee that will happen. The competition in the Cheshire property market doesn’t favour the first-time buyer bracket and with prices still rising, it could get very expensive. However, the stock of flats and apartments in the Cheshire property market is more readily available than the traditional detached, semis and terraced homes. Demand is lower, and flats and apartments saw the lowest price gains throughout 2021, making them a more affordable option for first-time buyers.

My advice to house-movers? If you are in no hurry to buy, it might be worth holding off and waiting to see if house prices do start to drop. But, do bear in mind that if recent reports are accurate and we do see a downturn in house prices, others in the same situation will probably hold off buying too, meaning if and when prices do eventually drop, the market maybe come even more competitive, and buyers may still find themselves struggling to get the property they want. If you need and can afford to buy a home now and you plan to live in it for several years, it might be better to bite the bullet. There’s no point in waiting for a drop in prices which may not happen soon.

Generally speaking, property tends to rise in value over time anyway, so you’re likely to make a profit on any property if you are in it for the long haul!