2013 was an interesting year for the UK property market, with rapidly rising prices in London and the South East and stable prices elsewhere in the country signalling a major return to strength. However, problems regarding affordability, especially for first-time homebuyers, remained key concerns for property market analysts.
With prices still on the rise, 2014 could be an even more interesting year for those in the property industry. The BBC recently sat down with several experts in both the property market and related industries to learn what they thought we could see in the coming months for property investors and homebuyers.
Patrick Sheehy, sales director at packaging supplier PHS Teacrate, claims that 2013 was a recovery period for the housing market. The industry dipped in 2011 but has since recovered, although not yet to the levels observed during the property boom of 2006 and 2007.
As the sales director of a packaging supply company, Sheehy benefits from a strong housing market. Cardboard boxes are, after decades, still the moving container that most of the country chooses. He has noticed higher activity levels than usual during the winter, mostly due to increased demand from movers.
Others in the financial services industry are optimistic about the property market’s growth during 2014. Rah Boulger, who works for mortgage broker John Charcol, is confident of an 8% rise in property prices over the course of the year. He bases his assessment on the Nationwide and Halifax indexes.
Boulger believes that the government’s lending schemes “moved the goalposts” for the property industry, and that further pricing growth is certainly possible with the current conditions of the market. One of the schemes referred to by Boulger is Help to Buy, which allows buyers with limited funds to access long-term mortgages.