UK housing market is 'kaput', brokers claim

Andrew Simmonds, director at Bristol-based Parker's Estate Agents: "In Bristol, Somerset and the West Country, as in most of the UK, there is an extraordinary lack of stock and this is supporting prices.

"Any properties that do come to the market are sold quickly, often in a matter of days or even hours, when marketed at the right asking price."

Cost of Living 

Graham Cox, founder of the Bristol-based Self-Employed Mortgage Hub, also agreed that the UK could be entering into a property bull market. 

He said: "The decade long property bull run is coming to an end. It's true that chronic undersupply of housing stock remains but it's only insanely cheap credit that is underpinning demand, and we're now moving to a much higher interest rate environment.

"The cost of living crisis means lenders are already tightening their affordability criteria. People simply won't be able to borrow as much, which means lower offers, particularly from first-time buyers.

"Put it all together, and I'll be surprised if prices don't start falling materially in a few months' time."

The cost of living has risen exponentially over recent months, with inflation at 30-year highs, a new social care tax coming into force in April, and energy price caps rising, putting severe strain on households, whose finances have already been stretched over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As reported by FTAdviser, the consumer prices index rose 6.2 per cent in the 12 months to February this year, an increase from the 5.5 per cent jump in January, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Added to this, the rising cost of petrol at the pump - by no means offset by the 5p cut in the price of petrol per litre for 12 months announced in the Spring Statement by chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Today ( March 28) the Office for National Statistics published two reports on average household incomes and household income inequality.

It showed the median income for the poorest fifth of the population decreased by 2 per cent between the financial year end 2020 and FYE 2021 to £14,600.

The figures also showed: 

  • Median income for the richest fifth of people has also decreased, but to a lesser extent, with a decrease of 1 per cent between FYE 2020 and FYE 2021 to £62,700.
  • A different trend is seen between FYE 2012 and FYE 2021, with median income of the richest fifth increasing by 9.1 per cent.

Rents are rising

Meanwhile, property specialists have warned that rents are also rising, which again puts pressure on the UK consumer.

Danielle Arnold, head of paraplanning at Wareham-based Bespoke Wealth, said: "Further rises in average rents were almost inevitable.

"In the current climate, with inflation going through the roof, renters need to be on red alert to manage their expenditure.

"We regularly speak to tenants and many have raised the point that the cost of living squeeze is dramatically reducing their ability to save for a deposit to be able to own their own home."

She added: "Careful financial steps need to be taken to ensure non-critical spending is managed for anyone seeking to get out of the rental market and onto the property ladder."