The property market has always generated a lot of interest from all quarters, not least because it affects so many of us in a whole raft of different ways. Personally I have always felt that the strength and weakness of our economy is built on the back of the property market. Property, as with most markets, is affected by sentiment and how people are feeling will be largely affected by whether the value of their home is going up or down. Strong markets breed a strong sense of optimism, which in turn breeds consumer confidence to go out and spend. It's therefore hardly surprising that in a year where we have seen the largest percentage growth in house prices, the sale of new cars hit an all-time high.
The property market is always eventful and 2014 certainly delivered. We saw an unprecedented resurgence of buyers into the market, largely fuelled by the governments Help to Buy scheme being widened to the whole of market up to £600,000. Supply remained about the same with enquiries from buyers up 220% and 300% with tenants -all in all the perfect storm to stir house price growth.
Just as things were reaching boiling point the Mortgage Market Review was introduced making it harder than ever for borrowers to secure loans based on a series of affordability measures and stress testing. Inevitably this impacted on the market and we saw a cooling off over the summer. However, prices remained strong and nationally homes achieved on average 95.8% of their asking price. At Intercounty we performed ahead of the market achieving on average 98.8% of asking price for our clients.
I am the first to criticise the government when it comes to decisions that affect the property market as during my 32 year career every time they seem to get involved it has a negative effect. We were all surprised however to see them change the rules around stamp duty, which has made buying a home cheaper or no different for everyone buying below £937,500.
Whether you agree or not with the new structure I must applaud the government for making the changes over night. Historically they would have set a date in the future for changes to take affect, which would have caused a surge of buyers to the market stimulating a further boom in prices only to be followed by a bust.