Author: David Knight - Director, The Mortgage Branch 
I spent some time this morning reviewing the trends in housing and the overall state of the market. 
Having read numerous reports from industry commentators the overwhelming feeling was one of pessimism. I see the world slightly differently and being involved day to day in helping clients to achieve their mortgage and homeownership ambitions I can confidently say that there is hope and help available. 
Through my research it also became evident that most industry professionals see rents increasing over the coming year, mainly down to a continued reduction in properties to rent.  
With the Government, in their attempt to quell the ever-expanding private rental market, making changes to the taxation on investment property purchases and income derived from these properties, as well as making changes to legislation surrounding renting a property, some landlords are deciding to leave the private rental space. 
The impact…. Higher rents, less availability of properties and more stress and strain on people renting without an end in sight. 
Whilst I am a realist and understand that house price rises continue to put some properties out of reach, there are many schemes out there to help and assist almost anyone trying to get onto the housing ladder for the first time.  
Also, with unemployment at record lows, and income levels increasing at a faster rate than in previous fallow years, now may well be the time to grab the bull buy the horns and get onto the housing ladder, move to a bigger property for your family’s needs, or take some equity out of your property to extend the home you live in. 
Based on local knowledge, there are lots of properties being marketed, but potential purchasers are being cautious in their approach to offering on properties, so the market seems to be showing signs of slowing but prices continue to hold up.  
That may be because of the political uncertainty over Brexit, a new prime minister and potential general election on the horizon, concern over potential interest rate increases (that I personally don’t see happening), mortgage affordability, availability of the right housing stock… and a host of other ‘reasons’ that may or may not have merit in the decision to buy new home. 
The truth is that the right house will likely be out there, as well as the right mortgage. It just takes a bit more time and research to find them and managing your expectations to what you will be able to afford.  
There are also deals to be done on houses. If the seller and buyer are both motivated to achieve a mutually agreeable purchase price and have their ducks in a row, financially speaking. 
There is also another BIG issue that I see preventing people making positive decisions to buy and creating pessimism, not optimism, in the market….. THE MEDIA!!! 
Commentators/broadcasters/newspapers are constantly throwing petrol on the fire when it comes to the property market and the opportunity for people, 1st time buyers in particular, to get onto the housing ladder and misleading the public! They are constantly peddling the notion that you need a £30,000 deposit, and that lenders are tightening their belts! 
Every time I hear this I find it so frustrating as all it does is potentially put scores of people off looking into buying a property, who may very well be in a position to purchase, and instead continue to rent and pour money down what they see as a never ending drain! 
To shed some light on what the media NEVER mention, and to get some optimism on the issue…. There are lenders out there that will lend 100% of the share needed to purchase a shared ownership property, there are 95% mortgages that if you were buying a £100,000 property would only require a £5000 deposit, and some lenders will accept a loan to form the deposit, as long as the mortgage remains affordable with the loan taken to fund the deposit. (Speak to a Broker before making this decision!) 
There are lenders that will offer up to 6 x income multiples, some lenders will allow you to take a 40 year mortgage out to keep the cost as low as possible in the first few years, there are lenders that won’t determine if they will lend purely on your credit report, but will assess it fully without prejudice of past credit indiscretions and… mortgage rates are still very, very low, and with current fixed rates you can build certainty to your mortgage payments over 2, 3, 5 and even 10 years! 
In a nutshell, do not make decisions based on the media’s misguided approach to the housing market, but make it based on known facts relating to your personal circumstances and situation. 
The key here is to speak to someone in the industry, who knows and understands the options available and can find the right lender that will fit with a potential purchasers’ circumstances. A good mortgage broker will discuss your full situation and then advise you accordingly of your options. The outcome of the meeting will be that the broker will advise you of your maximum borrowing amount and potential monthly costs based on available mortgages, which will help you identify the properties available to you.  
They will also be able to give you a fuller understanding on the property options available, for example purchasing outright, using the Help to Buy scheme, looking at shared ownership properties, plus many more options, and explain these in detail for you to make a positive purchasing decision. Or, it may be that you are not yet able to buy, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. 
Here at The Mortgage Branch if we determine that you are not yet in a position to buy we will help you to understand what you can do to get yourself into the best possible position, over the coming months, to then be able to take that step onto the property ladder, and help you to put a plan in place to achieve this. 
I would also offer an opinion, that should a deal be done with Europe, which I see as highly likely based on the mutually beneficial position that it would place both the UK and Europe in with the current trade volumes coming from Europe and that we supply to their market; as well as all the other benefits that a free trade agreement would provide to jobs and the labour market, housing, security, currencies on both sides of the channel, then there could be a surge in the housing market that would lead to prices increasing as the demand comes back into the market. 
As mentioned, this is only my opinion, but one worth noting as it may be that there are more deals to be done between now and October 31st, than beyond it. 
So, in conclusion, you only know what you know, ignore the media pessimism and misleading claims, it may be a good opportunity to purchase based on the current uncertainly in the market, and for peace of mind and certainly so that you are fully aware of your options, speak to a professional when it comes to the biggest financial commitment of your life! 
David Knight - Director, The Mortgage Branch 
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