Recent Surveys Show That the UK Property Market Remains Strong

By: Andrew Regan

The UK property market has been riding an upward trend for many years now, with house prices soaring significantly over the last decade. A new report from Assetz, the property investment advice experts, indicates that the average rate of annual growth in the UK property market in March 2007 was 10.2 per cent, down just slightly from 10.3 per cent in February 2007. UK property buyers are now expected to spend an average of ?204,176 for a new home.

Based on five major UK house price indices, the research indicates that house price inflation may have reached a plateau, having remained close to ten per cent for the last five months. Stuart Law, managing director of Assetz, commented:

"The average home in the UK is continuing to climb in value month on month, with the rate of growth far exceeding many comparable western European markets. It is very likely that limited supply, combined with vendors' aggressive pricing, will feed through for many more months to come in the form of robust price growth. Our expectation remains that 2006 will see price growth in the region of eight to ten per cent for the year."

Mr Law also added that price increases are continuing to bring significant benefits for buy-to-let investors, who have been able to raise rents. This view is corroborated by the consumer economic activity analysts, Mintel, who have just released research that shows the number of people who own a second property in the UK is set to double by 2010. According to Mintel, three per cent of all homeowners are thinking of buying another property to let to tenants in the next two or three years; this would take the number of private landlords in the UK to two million.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, when the term buy-to-let was first coined in 1998, there were only 28,000 people with buy-to-let mortgages in existence in the UK property market. Today, the total number of buy-to-let mortgages taken out stands at 850,000, which amounts to nine per cent of all mortgages. This means that that the majority of UK property for sale in the UK is now bought for rental purposes.

Paul Davies, Mintel's senior financial analyst, commented:

"It is clear that these days buy-to-let is no longer the exclusive domain of professional portfolio landlords. Increasingly, property owners are seeing the benefits of investing in bricks and mortar and often regard the second homes market as a good alternative means of saving for retirement. As long as these trends continue, future growth in this market should be guaranteed."

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