Mixed Messages for Housing Market

A strong rise in mortgage lending for house purchase in August has been reported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.  Lending for house purchase rose by 11.7% compared with July and by 10.8% compared with August last year.  A total of 55,300 were advanced on house purchase in August worth 8.4billion pounds up from 49,900 in August 2011.  These figures differ from the Bank of England which indicated that approvals for house purchases in August stood at 10% lower than in August last year.  There was also a recent report which indicated that activity in the construction industry for August was considerably lower than in August 2011.

My own feeling is that the property market is staggering on and, after a very positive start to 2012, has slowed dramatically in activity levels since July.  My Opinion is that the economic uncertainty fuelled by the euro zone crisis and the mixed messages coming from the American economy are having a big impact on confidence and activity.  I was concerned to read recent indication relating to the weather showing that experts are predicting a worse winter than the one we had in 2010.  I could see the housing market going into hibernation from the start of November with the green shoots of recovery appearing with the spring thaw in 2013.  On a positive note I am still seeing an increase in property investors and I will report on this shortly.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

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