LifestyleBusiness

Is 2023 a Good Time to Buy a House in the UK?

Buying a house to live in is usually a good idea which is why so many people like to get on the property ladder even if they have to start off with a smaller home than they’d eventually like.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with renting your home. However, rental payments go to your landlord and are not, therefore, turned into equity in a home that you will eventually own as an asset.

What this boils down to is that – for the vast majority of the British public, at least – home ownership has been historically positive, something that offers security and investment potential. The real question is, then, will this change in 2023?

Firstly, it is important to note that the UK’s housing market is undergoing some significant changes. As of the latter half of 2022, prices and the number of trades – that’s exchanges between buyers and sellers – both fell somewhat. Okay, no one is predicting a massive housing slump in 2023 but this trend does look likely to continue for the first half of the year, at least.

Why? Simply put, Bank of England interest rate increases – introduced to try and bring inflation down – mean that mortgages are more expensive. If you are on a fixed-rate deal, then when it comes up for renewal, the monthly fees are likely to be much higher than they were.

First-time buyers may have even faced mortgage offers being withdrawn with newer, more costly deals being proposed instead.

Secondly, the much-talked-about cost of living crisis doesn’t look set to end in the short term. People are paying more for essentials like food and fuel than ever before. Consequently, there is less money in the UK economy for people to spend on their housing.

A combination of more expensive lending and lower levels of available household income will surely depress the housing market to some degree. That may put some buyers off. However, avoiding buying until the market sorts itself out shouldn’t necessarily be your first instinct.

To be clear, buying a house you cannot afford with mortgage repayments you will struggle with is never a wise move.

In 2023, however, you might find you can get a bigger house than you might have thought as sellers – eager to downsize or get out of their property before negative equity hits them – are willing to lower their asking prices.

That’s good news for buyers who have the right sort of mortgage deals they can pay back sustainably.

According to Pinnacle Finance, a mortgage brokerage firm that deals with numerous specialist lenders, more and more borrowers are turning to less well-known mortgage providers to get deals that truly suit them.

On the high street, there is competition among lenders but their deals are often very standardised. People with significant deposits, smaller savings, poor credit histories or income that is non-standard often find it harder to obtain mortgage finance, especially when the housing market looks uncertain as it does today.

Consequently, those buyers who will commit to a house purchase in the coming year may need to work a little harder to get the deal they want. That said, now could be exactly the right time to buy, especially if house prices begin to pick up again towards the end of 2023 and into 2024.

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