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Let's not talk ourselves into a fall

Posted on 20 April 2020
Let's not talk ourselves into a fall

People have got their crystal ball out and, as ever, the media is jumping on the “crisis” bandwagon when it comes to property.  Journalists still think bad news sells but I am not so sure in this day and age, even before this dreadful virus became a worldwide pandemic, the like of which we have never seen.

However, let’s not talk ourselves into a fall in the housing market. With confidence being so subjective, it can sometimes be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There has been a lot of coverage over the past few days about the future of house prices with some commentators predicting a short-term
dip. Where is the logic in this?

Of course, there is uncertainty and the economy is taking a battering but before Covid-19 entered the stage a month or two ago, the
property market here in Northern Ireland was really beginning to move.  The demand was out-stripping supply so many vendors wanting to purchase a new home were getting ready to sell in the Spring.  With solid foundations based upon First Time Buyers and owner-occupiers, there was a general feeling of a strong, sensible residential property market.

Surely the demand and desire to move that we saw and experienced at the start of 2020 will still be there for most people when we return?  This is not like 2008 when banks ran out of money themselves and had to stop lending.  Now it’s the opposite with interest rates at an all- time low. Lenders are still keen to offer mortgages and local property prices are at a much more realistic level compared with household income.

If income changes then, yes, house prices could be affected … but at the moment there is no evidence of that.  If there is mass unemployment like we are already seeing in America then of course there will be a knock-on effect on many people’s ability to buy.  However the UK government’s job retention schemes, business interruption loans and stimulus packages are helping to cushion the blow.  Plus Northern Ireland has a huge public sector in terms of employment which will hopefully see the local economy through the storm.

No one knows what is going to happen next week, never mind later in 2020 or next year.  For every person in the press predicting falls, we may as well surmise there could actually be a bounce.  A “V”-shaped recovery as the market starts to move quickly on the crest of a wave of pent-up demand and favourable borrowing terms.

If you are thinking of buying and selling – maybe lockdown has made you think you need more space … or less – we would urge you
to keep an open mind.  Be realistic not pessimistic.

So, give us a call now or on “the other side” to have a chat about the prospects and signs in our housing market.

Nothing like this pandemic has happened in most peoples lifetimes but if we all stay home and keep safe, we will get through this together and more quickly so normality can return faster.