Thursday, 5 March 2009

Time to buy index for February 2009

In January the index stands at 228 unadjusted(U) and 319 adjusted(A)

This gives a guide that house prices are around 22% over valued and that market sentiment pushes that to 31% over valued. DO NOT BUY

That is not to say that house prices will fall by either, but it gives an idea of the direction.

Some weird data last month from Halifax did turn out to be a rogue month. Halifax are back with the trend now with a -2.3% fall.

Even though house prices have fallen this month, there was a big rise in the rate data I use to determine affordability. The rate rise has a bigger impact than the price falls and so the index has risen again this month making house prices less affordable.

Although Bank of England rates have fallen, new mortgage deals are being priced at pre-cut levels.

The price to average earnings ratio has also fallen slightly this month and is still indicating house prices are 10% above trend on this indicator.

Most buy to let deals have been withdrawn now and those that remain have seen a lowering of the Loan to Value needed. There exists only one 95% LTV first time buyer deal in the market and this requires a charge on the parents house, so a 90% LTV is the best on offer. Credit remains tight.

The unadjusted index is now down from it's peak of 645 in July 2007


House prices to continue falling with the Halifax index bottoming at £140,000 in Q4 2009.

In my opinion mortgage lending criteria has tightened more than usual with a larger deposit required than in the past, however lenders are still lending above average multipliers and mortgage rates have again fallen to below the longer term normal level.

The end of irresponsible lending means that lenders will never be returning to the days of lending with no deposit or waiving income checks.

House prices are still suspended about 20% above the level of finance that the banks are willing to give out. Interestingly the £xx billions in extra lending that RBS and Northern Rock have blagged to Gordon Brown is a total farce. The lenders have the money to lend but are applying their new stricter criteria to borrowers. The money will not be lent out any time soon, because many borrowers do not meet the criteria.

Buy to let as one of the key drivers of house prices still does not makes economic sense at current rates. This sector will most likely never return to the heady days of 2007 as the age of irresponsible lending is over.

First time buyers are the main driver of the bottom of the housing market. First time buyers have rightly taken the view that it is best to wait out this drop before entering the market.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Do you really think they'll bottom out at £140,000? That's only 30% down from Halifax peak. I'd have thought more like 40% to 45% down, nominal.

CROWN said...

I am less certain since the banking crisis started in September, but it is still my thinking that as soon as the affordability to first time buyers hits a certain level then they will enter the market.

Based on mortgage rates and disposable income, my estimate is still for the £140,000 average price and based on current trends that is around Q4 2009 maybe Q1 2010 now.

If rates were to increase dramatically for the 90% LTV then the price westimate would be lower, but I am currently working on the latest 90% deals of around 6.25%

Anonymous said...

With unemployment soaring where are the first time buyers going to come from and who is going to lend to them?