A steady stream of bad economic news has filtered into Britain’s property market, prompting fears that prices could tumble. But how worried should people be? Rupert Jones reports
Ever since Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ revolution in the 1980s, the UK housing market has been an obsession for millions of people. For many, buying a home has been like a lottery win, with properties rising in value year after year, often by far more than the average wage. It has spawned an industry of lifestyle programmes pushing people to get on to the property ladder and revamp their homes.
Recently, however, things have started to go sour. Prices in October fell by 0.9% month on month, according to the mortgage lender Nationwide, in the market’s first decline in 15 months. One of the reasons was a slowdown in demand for properties as a result of spiralling borrowing costs, with a spate of interest rate rises leading to soaring monthly payments.