Expert: way too early to talk of house market boom, but the real winners right now are cash buyers

Predictions of a house-market bounce are “too optimistic” and the only real winners right now are cash buyers, an expert has claimed.

Many commentators have said in recent weeks that the sector is showing signs of a bounce.

Just last week Rightmove reported strong buyer demand and sales – with the average price of newly marketed properties rising by 1.5%  in April.

Nationwide’s respected price index showed growth edging up in March with UK house prices up 1.6% compared with a year ago.

And experts at Halifax also reported house prices being up on last year, growing by +0.3% annually.

Commenting on the current market, Jonathan Rolande, founder of House Buy Fast,

“To describe the current situation as “positive” is a little optimistic. It also misses a key-point.

The figures the market is celebrating come from a very low ebb.

A year ago the market was still recovering the botched Budget of Kwasi Kwarteng which shook the property sector to its foundations.

We’ve moved on from there but we could be in danger of thinking things are better than they are.

Nearly halfway into 2024, it is beginning to look like the year will mostly be one of consolidation and stabilisation. The inflation rate is falling and wages are rising. This is good news. But very few people feel better off than they did two or three years ago and we look unlikely to reverse that feeling any time soon.”

Pinpointing who the current winners are he continue:

“Right now the market is being buoyed up by cash purchasers who currently account for over 30% of sales. “It was more like 20% until 2022. So cash-buyers are king right now. The market is becoming more weighted in favour of those fortunate enough not to need a mortgage, be it investors, overseas buyers or downsizers.

“Many are also in a stronger position than they might otherwise be, thanks to unusual gains in the stock market, commodities, and even cryptocurrencies, perhaps the result of years of money printing by the world’s major economies. Much of this wealth needs to find a home and for many, that’s increasingly becoming bricks and mortar.

This is depressing for a standard buyer who tends to be someone looking to get out of the rental trap, someone looking to start a home with a new partner or looking to accommodate a growing family. Once inflation is factored in, the home-owning dream for many will become ever further out of reach.”