Despite mortgage woes, 27% of Brits think now is the time to buy

20 June 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
More than a quarter of Britons think that now might be a good time to buy a house, despite the current precarious value of property and the mortgage market making it nearly impossible to get a competitive deal.

While 51 per cent of people think that now is not the right time to invest in property, the Building Societies Association (BSA) has found in its Property Tracker survey that 27 per cent agreed that, to some extent, now is a good time.

This is indicative of the existence of an optimistic group among the doom and gloom that is willing to venture out into uncertain territory, despite current market conditions which are seeing mortgage ranges shrunk and rates raised.

The BSA survey also investigated what Brits think are the biggest barriers to buying property. It found that 70 per cent of Brits believe it is mortgage affordability that would prevent them from purchasing property because monthly payments have become so expensive.

"People often view property buyers as a single group," said Adrian Coles, director general of the BSA. "However, the Property Tracker survey shows that is not the case, and while most people don’t believe now is a good time to buy, more than one in four people believe the opposite."

Almost half said that getting access to a mortgage at all or being able to borrow enough is what stands in their way, 47 per cent would have difficulty raising a deposit, and 46 per cent said that further falls in property prices would deter them from investing. Another preventative factor was not having a job.

Those that thought it was not a good time considered the falling value of property to be the biggest deterrent, while just 30 per cent of those who though that it might be a good time to buy concurred that this was the biggest barrier.

Mr Coles continued: "The finding that monthly mortgage payments are currently seen as the main barrier to house purchase demonstrates the extent to which household finances are being stretched, as well as a reflection of the increased price of risk now incorporated into mortgage rates.

"A significant proportion of respondents said that expected future falls in property prices are a reason not to buy. However, the fact that a lack of job security was relatively unimportant in preventing property purchase suggests that concerns about the wider economy are not currently undermining the housing market. With this new quarterly survey, the BSA should be able to track how the perceived barriers to property purchase change over coming quarters."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd