HomeNewsUK Housing Market Grinds to a Halt as Rates Bite

UK Housing Market Grinds to a Halt as Rates Bite

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Britain’s once-thriving housing sector is now flatlining amid a tightening chokehold of astronomical mortgage rates. New data reveals house prices and transactions went into free fall in August, leaving estate agents the most pessimistic in over a decade.

The outlook darkened further this week as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported its house price index plunging to post-financial crisis lows, defying downbeat forecasts. As the Bank of England sticks to aggressive rate hikes to tame inflation, the property chill worsens.

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Mortgage costs remain sky-high after 14 consecutive rate increases, crushing demand. RICS found homebuyer inquiries and completed sales sinking to depths last seen during the 2020 market shutdown, with experts seeing no relief ahead.

Meanwhile, aspiring buyers are flooding the rental market as homeownership grows increasingly out of reach. But scores of small landlords are exiting as higher taxes and borrowing costs bite.

The resulting supply crisis has deepened into an affordability catastrophe – rents now consume 28% of the average wage according to Zoopla, the worst ratio in a decade. With humbling rate rises around the corner, securing a viable mortgage looks near impossible for many.

As a result, Britain’s once red-hot housing market has screeched to an abrupt standstill. Years of frenzied price growth have met their rate-induced emesis. Until mortgage rates meaningfully fall, the property deep freeze looks set to continue, becoming the new status quo.

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Shanaz Khan
Shanaz Khan
Shanaz Khan, Co-founder, COO & UK Editorial Lead

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