Should you buy now or wait? | Autumn 2022


As any prospective buyer will know, this is not an easy question to answer. Personal factors are as important as market factors when it comes to making a decision as big as this. First-time buyers are in a different spot to those looking to downsize from a large family home and perhaps make a move to the coast or countryside.

The only sure fire piece of advice, regardless of your spot on the ladder, is to do your own research, and arm yourself with the facts, however fast they might change. Understand your market: Where do you want to buy; What do you want to buy? Do you have a deposit ready? Do you have a mortgage in principal? Only when you’ve explored all avenues, and made yourself as ready as you can ever be, should you even consider pulling the trigger and making an offer, or putting your existing house on the market.

What does the same Fulham budget get you outside of London?

But that doesn’t answer the question posed at the start of this article. So, let's zoom out and see if we can offer some information about the current state of the market.

A report from Nationwide in July stated that the housing market continued to grow, as **house prices rose by 0.1% over the month. This marked the twelfth successive monthly increase in house prices this year. That puts the rate of annual house price growth at 11%, up from 10.7% in June, which has kept annual price growth in double digits for a ninth straight month. Zoopla said in its July housing index that it had readjusted its outlook, and the UK is on track for 1.3 million sales in 2022, with a house price growth of 5%. This highlights the continued interest from committed buyers, even through the usual summer lull.

"Zoopla said in its July housing index that it had readjusted its outlook, and the UK is on track for 1.3 million sales in 2022, with a house price growth of 5%"

But that’s not the end of the story. Zoopla expects the rate of growth to slow over the second half of the year, but not as fast as some may expect. Richard Donnell, executive director of research at Zoopla, reports that “the ongoing impact of the pandemic continues to support a desire to move among home buyers”. This is a big reason why the market is not slowing as fast as some might expect and demand remains for sensibly-priced homes, especially in more affordable areas. Donnell also states that “the housing market is not immune from higher mortgage rates which we are starting to see increase quickly. Buyer interest is expected to slow over the coming months as people tighten their belts and spend with more caution which will see price growth weaken further."

With interest rates set to increase again, and further energy price rises expected in October, many buyers will be reassessing their situations, and may choose to bide their time. House prices continue to increase due to residual effects from the pandemic, like the stamp duty holiday and the continued race for space. There have also been changes to mortgages in August, with the scrapping of the affordability test, which could open the door for some first time buyers and freelancers.

The pandemic, specifically the stamp duty holiday and race to buy before the deadline, also led to housing stock reaching massive lows. But that too looks to be correcting, albeit slowly. In June, Rightmove said the number of enquiries from potential sellers has reached its highest level since January, potentially indicating an increase in stock.

Which takes us full circle back to the initial question - should you buy now or wait? In short, if you have everything in place, or you need to move for a specific reason, you should consider going for it. House prices may fall, but it’s unlikely there will be a crash that would lead to a hypothetical bargain. Conversely, if you’re in no rush, then waiting is a good option too. You can hold out for either for price you’re comfortable with, or that perfect home you’ve dreaming of.

To see the rest of our Q4/22 Magazine, click the link below to view the articles online:

Illustration by Will Dodd.