Home Front logoWith the first quarter of the year already behind us how are things fairing in the property market? We had an usually quiet start to the year with rentals in particular taking a real downturn. Virtually nothing was let during January, which came as a great shock to us all as generally January is nice and busy after the silence over Christmas and New Year, this resulted in an oversupply of properties in February which naturally drove rental prices which had been really strong for the previous 6 months back down again. Naturally the tenants took control of the market and despite the landlords reluctance they were forced to take a lot less rent than they might normally achieve. Things are starting to level out a little on the rental market now though so hopefully we should see a stronger market going forward with Landlords expectations not to different to the actual rents achievable. Sales have progressed at a steady pace until now, but within the last 2 weeks it has gone absolutely mad. Asking price offers are being achieved on the first viewing with premium properties having more than one buyer fighting over them.  The drove of buyers from the Asian market is still plentiful with lots of investors buying blind in the area as well as many cash heavy parents flying here to secure homes for their children that are due to start studying in London in September. All very good news for sellers and investors holding property here already, a buoyant sales market will put a spring in everyone’s step and naturally push prices up. Lenders are also sitting pretty as the lending criteria has started to free up a little and they at last have some attractive lending deals to offer which despite our low interest rates are still good enough to tempt owners already in the market to re-mortgage to secure a decent fixed rate. News on the street continues to support that the low interest rates supported by The Bank of England will continue for at least another year which is obviously good news for the property market and the public’s pocket. The latest housing initiative from the Government has been unveiled, offering support for aspiring homebuyers and sparking hopes for better mortgage rates and availability. The Help to Buy scheme is seemingly bigger and bolder than previous proposals to get the housing market moving. There are two strands to Help to Buy: equity loans worth up to 20 per cent of the value of a new home, which are available from April 12th 2013, which will run for three years, and mortgage guarantees for people with smaller deposits, which won’t be available until next January. Without a doubt 2013 is looking very healthy if the last couple of weeks are anything to go by.