When it rains, it pours

The great housing boom of the nineties and onwards was a time of endless building and big dreams, but these things cannot last and the inevitable downturn has occurred with house prices and value falling at record rates.

We all knew this day would come, as change is inevitable; but many of us have been surprised that it took this long for things to turn the other way. Today the marketplace is significantly different and affecting all major sectors of the economy, with slowing business growth, falling house prices and difficult credit conditions dramatically altering consumer spending and confidence.

Outside of the financial sector, homeowners and potential home buyers are paying most attention to the grim news circulating around Britain’s media. This is a time for information gathering and measured thinking, not rash decisions and blunt generalisations. Whatever your view on the current state of the economy and housing market, it cannot be ignored.

Britain is more vulnerable to an economic slowdown because of the high levels of debt held by many households that are well used to the widespread spending that typified the good years. Now higher interest rates have seen spending replaced with more cautious behaviour as more people become aware of the perils of these uncertain times.

The high cost of housing in the last decade has not helped as house prices have not really corresponded to income levels. People now have little to be optimistic about as house prices suffer their sharpest monthly falls since the early 1990s, down 11% compared to this time last year, 2007.

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners are looking to renegotiate or compare mortgages, only to find that their choice of available deals has decreased dramatically and average borrowing costs have risen sharply as banks struggle to cope with high lending rates and falling profits.

New buyers looking to get their foot onto the property ladder don’t fare much better when comparing mortgages. 100% mortgages are, for now anyway, a thing of the past while average two-year fixed-rate deals are less attractive than previous years and new mortgage lending has fallen to a 15-year low.

This property malaise has swept across the US and UK and is rapidly affecting other countries too as news of mortgage brokers, estate agents and house builders shedding jobs due to lack of demand is now common place in the national media.

It is understandable to wish to turn away from the somber news of negative equity, repossessions, and mortgage struggles but now is an important time to take stock, examine your spending and speak to your financial advisor. Patience and reliable information are key, it is important to acknowledge that this is a period of change, but also to remain upbeat as after the rain, there is always sunshine.

Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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