A housing market crash to get new buyers on the ladder? Not likely while supply remains this low

Is it possible to have green shoots emerging in the depths of chilly November?  (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
Is it possible to have green shoots emerging in the depths of chilly November? (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Is it possible to have green shoots emerging in the depths of chilly November?

Maybe not horticulturally, but there were certainly some encouraging signs today that the great post-mini-Budget downturn in the property market might be past its worst.

After a succession of gloomy trading updates and results from the house building sector, Persimmon today became the first major player to see some indications of confidence returning among buyers.

Meanwhile Halifax said it had seen the same pattern as Nationwide last week with a small uptick in prices in October

The catalyst for this unexpected outbreak of optimism was undoubtedly the Bank of England’s decision to hold rates in September and November.

Fixed rates in the mortgage market continue to drift down. Today analysts Moneyfacts said the average two-year fixed residential mortgage rate stood at 6.26%, down 3 basis points on yesterday, while the five-year fixed rate today is 5.84%, also down three basis points.

The major lenders are still competing fiercely for relative modest levels of demand and brokers say it is only a matter of time before deals beginning with a four start to be seen in the market place again.

A new virtuous cycle could soon be under way with lower rates reigniting activity in the market which underpins prices injecting more confidence back into the market.

If that comes to pass the UK London market will have achieved a rare “Goldilocks cycle”, with prices ending neither too hot not cold. It has been some years since a genuine boom and bust in the capital and values are remarkably little changed over the past four or five years.

The great crash some first-time buyers have been holding out for looks increasingly unlikely.

There is simply not enough bricks and mortar in London — and insufficient sellers — to make supply overwhelm demand. London property is down, but not out, and it may not be long before prices are on the rise again.