All the signs are pointing to a slowdown in the housing market in the past year. New data revealed by the British Bankers’ Association has revealed that approvals have fallen by 16% in the last 12 months.
The lowest level of mortgage approvals since May 2013
The figures actually reveal that the level of mortgage approvals has fallen to the lowest level in 17 months. The figures for October 2014 amounted to 37,076 new mortgages. This compares to September’s figure of 39,127 – a drop of just over 2,000 in the space of a month. September’s figures were 16% down on a year ago and nearly 25% lower than the figure reached back in January 2014.
The value of mortgages granted has also fallen
The data also revealed that the total mortgage value has also dropped – this time by 13% over a period of 12 months. It currently stands at a little over £6 billion.
A slight drop in house prices
Along with the drop in mortgages and a general slowdown in the marketplace, house prices have also reduced slightly in value. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the average price of a house in September this year was £273,000. One month previously it was £1,000 higher than this.
Are we heading for a crash?
Judging by the figures above you would be forgiven for considering this as even the vaguest of possibilities. However experts seem to agree on this being nothing more than the remotest of possibilities. The market at present is facing up to a number of factors, all of which could have an effect on whether or not people are looking at mortgages at present. These same factors can also have a potential bearing on the value of properties on the market.
Among these is the fact the next election is looming in May 2015. Beyond this there is the distinct possibility that interest rates will rise at some point next year as well. Many people are biding their time and waiting to see how things pan out in the early part of next year before committing themselves to a mortgage at this point.
Predictions for growth in house prices vary for next year
Experts have also been giving their estimates on the potential for house prices to rise or fall during 2015. Halifax believes a rise of between 3% and 5% is on the cards. Two other groups within the housing sector have come up with figures of 4% and 5%, broadly in line with Halifax’s estimates. However the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) gives a figure of -0.8% so it will be interesting to see which experts will be closer to the reality next year.
Either way we have seen a distinct slowdown in the number of mortgages that have been taken up during 2014. Whether or not this pattern remains in place for the foreseeable future and into 2015 is yet to be decided.