Thursday, 14 September 2017

50 Years Of The Crawley Property Market

50 years ago, in 1967, the average value of a Crawley property was £4,372 and interest rates were at 5.5% so how does that compare to the Crawley property market of today??
I have been doing some research on the current attitude of Crawley first-time buyers who are so important for both landlords and homeowners.  If first-time buyers aren’t buying, they rent (good news for landlords). If they buy, demand for Crawley property goes up for starter homes and that enables other Crawley homeowners to move up the property ladder.

First-time buyers are the life blood of the property market. They are, however the most susceptible to interest rate rises and the affordability of mortgages.  With that in mind, let us see what is happening to them…

The average value of a Crawley property is currently standing at £329,649 and UK interest rates at 0.25%.  As each year goes by, it appears the age of the everlasting mortgage has started to emerge, prompted by these first-time buyers, eager to get a foot on the housing ladder. I was reading a report a few days ago where some mortgage companies confessed that the battle to gain big returns from the property market has led to mortgages that will take considerably longer than the customary 25 years to pay off.

Over the last ten years, Crawley property prices have continued to rise more than wages, therefore, first-time buyers are looking for bigger loans, therefore the only way repayments can remain reasonable is by increasing the term of the loan.

Over the last few years, it has been commonplace for first-time buyer mortgages to be 30 and 35 years in length as the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ have been helping with the deposit. Now, some high street banks are offering mortgage terms of 40 years. This means first-time buyers could be paying until their mid 60’s.  So, a 50-year mortgage does not seem as far-fetched now as it would have been back in the 1970’s. After all life expectancy for a male then was exactly 69 years and today its 79 years and 5 months!

However, some commenters have said there are worries the mortgage companies are lending money over such a long term, they threaten leaving some first-time buyers with a generation of debt if the house price bubble bursts.  Interestingly, when I looked at what had happened to average property values in Crawley over the last 50 years, there have been bubbles. First-time buyers should take heart, since as a county we have always recovered from it a few years later.

What if interest rates rise? Well looking at historic UK interest rates, the current rate of 0.25% is at a 300-year low. Mortgages will never be cheaper. I would however, seriously consider fixing the rate to cushion any future potential interest rate rises (since they can only go in one direction when they do change). If Crawley first-time buyers see buying a home as a long-term decision, based on the last 50 years, they should be just fine!

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