All experts are predicting a bumpy ride for the economy in 2023. However, even just a few weeks into the year, we are beginning to see more positive signs that the picture won’t be as gloomy as was forecast at the end of last year. While consensus is that the UK will go into recession, the hope is this won’t be as deep as was feared. The Bank of England base rate, currently at 3.5%, will probably still rise, but HSBC have revised their forecast, predicting it won’t go higher than 3.75%.
The outlook for the housing market is similarly uncertain for 2023.There is consensus across the board that prices will drop, but by how much is still very much up for debate.
House prices fell in the last four months of 2022 and this trend is expected to continue, but the fall between November and December was just 0.1%. The market was quiet at the end of last year, as many people decided to wait and see what would happen with mortgage rates.
How much they will continue to fall in 2023 is uncertain. The most pessimistic warn the fall could be between 15% and 20%, but most believe it will be much less drastic than that. The Nationwide are predicting a slide, rather than a crash with a 5% reduction in prices.
What is clear is the housing boom fuelled by measures taken during the pandemic is over. British banks and building societies expect to lend 23% less to homebuyers in 2023 and the number of properties being sold is likely to be around 1 million, down from 1.27 million in 2022. However, there are reasons to back the more optimistic view of the year ahead and that the fall will be softer than some forecast.
These rate increases will only affect a limited proportion of the market. Around 85% of mortgage balances are on fixed interest rates, so they will be only affected by rate increases once they come up for renewal. According to the latest figures from the ONS, 1.4 million households in the UK are facing the prospects of interest rate rises when they renew their fixed term mortgages in 2023, but it is looking like their payments will go up substantially less than was feared.
While there will be some who will struggle to cover their mortgage payments, it is predicted that a relatively low number of people will be forced into moving in 2023. This is due to rising wages in the private sector, currently up to 7.2%, covering much of the price hikes caused by inflation. The unemployment rate is also predicted to increase only marginally, up to 5% from the current 3.6%, still low by historic standards.
There is no pretending 2023 will be a bumper year for the housing and mortgage markets. However, commentators believe that the decline will be temporary and modest growth will return in 2024.
At Springtide Capital our experts monitor the market closely, helping clients to find the best possible options for their circumstances, considering not the current situation but likely future outcomes. Speak to us today to see how we could help you find the solution that’s right for you.
To discuss your mortgage requirements today contact Springtide Capital on 020 8154 7280.