I’m hoping to purchase my first property, and I’m wondering whether this is a good time to buy.
A. The short answer is - yes. However, just in case you think I’m only saying that because I’m an estate agent, let me explain.
Despite what you may have read or been told, in actual fact there is no such thing as an especially good time to buy – or a especially bad one either, come to that. The same is true for selling. After all, if that were the case, then we’d all be buying or selling at the same time. In practice, in a free market like property, supply and demand tend to balance each other out. If sellers behaved like migrating birds, for example, and all brought their properties to market at a particular time of year, you’d very soon find buyers also flocking in to take advantage of the lower prices. Result: the increased demand would simply push prices up again!
If you want a rather more realistic scenario, you only have to look at what happened last year when first time buyers rushed to try and beat the deadline for the ending of the Stamp Duty holiday. Figures just released by one of the big national chains suggest that no fewer than 24,200 of them bought during March –a figure twice as high as the following month. But did those “lucky” buyers who managed to get in ahead of the deadline really end up better off? No. All that happened was that the resulting (and entirely predictable) feeding frenzy duly attracted the attention of sellers - and purchasers ended up paying the highest first time buyer prices seen all year!
The moral of this tale is that rather than trying to outguess the market, the best time to buy – or sell – is when it suits you. So, if you’ve already seen a property you like, and you are in a position to proceed from a financial point of view, then you should go ahead.
Besides, the fact is that all things considered, this is actually a very good time to buy. Property prices are lower than they’ve been for years, and increased competition from lenders means that as long as you have a reasonable deposit, there are some excellent mortgage deals around.
So there you are. Go for it!