Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Grantham Homeowners and their £891.4 million Debt

Over the last 12 months, the UK has decided to leave the EU, have a General Election with a result that didn’t go to plan for Mrs May and to add insult to injury, our American cousins elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. It could be said this should have caused some unnecessary unpredictability into the UK property market.

Nevertheless, the housing and mortgage market in the (for the time being) shows a noteworthy resilience, nurtured by the ongoing extensive monetary policy by the Bank of England, all combined with a macro-economic improvement and a general extensive enhancement of the economic conditions. Furthermore, despite the UK construction industry improving its year on year figures and growth rates (building 21% more properties than same time the year before), there has been a disproportionate increase in demand for housing, especially in the most thriving areas of the Country. Repossessions are also at an all-time low at 3,985 for the last Quarter (Q1 2017) from a high of 29,145 in Q1 2009. All these things combined mean ..

Property values in Grantham according to
the Land Registry are 6.84% higher than a year ago

So, what does all this mean for the homeowners and landlords of Grantham, especially in relation to property prices moving forward?

One vital bellwether of the property market (and property values) is the mortgage market. The UK mortgage market is worth £961,653,701,493 (that’s £961bn) and it representative of 13,314,512 mortgages (interestingly, the UK’s mortgage market is the largest in Europe in terms of amount lent per year and the total value of outstanding loans). Uncertainty causes banks to stop lending – look what happened in the credit crunch and that seriously affects property prices.

Roll the clock back to 2007, and nobody had heard of the term ‘credit crunch’, but now the expression has entered our everyday language.  It took a few months throughout the autumn of 2007, before the crunch started to hit the Grantham property market, but in late 2007, and for the following year and half, Grantham property values dropped each month like the notorious heavy lead balloon, meaning …

The Credit Crunch caused Grantham Property Values to drop by 20.1%

The Bank of England grasped in the early Autumn of 2008 that the UK economy was starting to stall under the sustained pressure of the Credit Crunch due to uncertainty of certain loan books (sub-prime lending) in the US and across the world. Therefore, between October 2008 and March 2009, interest rates dropped six times in six months from 5% to 0.5% to try and stimulate the British economy. 

Thankfully, after a period of stagnation, the Grantham property market started to recover slowly in 2011 as certainty returned to the economy as a whole and Grantham property values really took off in 2013 as the economy sped upwards. Thankfully, the fire was taken out of the property market in Spring of 2015 (otherwise we could have had another boom and bust scenario like we had in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s), with new mortgage lending rules and throughout 2016, we saw a return to more realistic and stable medium term property price growth. Interestingly, property prices recovered in Grantham from the post Credit Crunch 2009 dip and are now 36.1% higher than they were in 2009.

Now, as we enter the Summer of 2017, with the Conservatives having been re-elected on their slender majority, the Grantham property market has recouped its composure and in fact, there has been some aggressive competition among mortgage lenders, which has driven mortgage rates down to record lows. This is good news for Grantham homeowners and landlords, over the last few months a mortgage price war has broken out between lenders, with many slashing the rates on their deals to the lowest they have ever offered.  For example, last month, HSBC launched a 1.69% five-year fix mortgage!

Interestingly, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the level of mortgage lending had soared to an all-time high in the UK. 

In the Grantham postcodes of (NG31, NG32 and NG33), if you added up everyone’s mortgage, it would total £891,440,711!

Since 1977, the average Bank of England interest rate has been 6.65%, making the current 323 year all time low rate of 0.25% very low indeed. Thankfully, the proportion of
borrowers fixing their mortgage rate has gone from 31.52% in the Autumn of 2012 to the current 59.3%. If you haven’t fixed – maybe you should follow the majority?

In my modest opinion, especially if things do get a little rocky and uncertainty seeps back in the coming years (and nobody knows what will happen on that front), one thing I know is for certain, interest rates can only go one way from their 300 year ultra 0.25% low level. ….and that is why I consider it important to highlight this to all the homeowners and landlords of Grantham. Maybe, just maybe, you might want to consider taking some advice from a qualified mortgage person? There are plenty of them in Grantham