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14 Nov, 2023/ by Homeward Legal /Buyer

Whether you're a first-time buyerstepping on to that first rung of the property ladder or a seasoned purchaser of homes over the years, the prospect of the stress of the moving process rarely if ever goes away.

Buying and selling a house, flat, or a maisonette can be quite daunting if you're not fully prepared for what you need to consider and do before it's over. It's no surprise that moving house is considered to be one of the top three most stressful events in people's lives. Some love how busy it is; others hate it.

Nevertheless, there will almost certainly come a time when you are on that property ladder and you need to move: work requirements, personal circumstances, financial situation, family size, downsizing… There are so many reasons as to why you might be considering the possibility of moving.

But, assuming there is no critical date you're aiming for, in which case will likely override some of the financial and even location considerations, there is the vexed question of when the most appropriate time is to move to a new home. Now? Or at some distant point in the future? Or somewhere in between?

The UK's financial position

In the past few years, the political position nationally and globally has been in a state of flux, with the effects of the mini-budget of September 2022 still making themselves felt, the geopolitical upheaval affecting fuel and food prices, and UK inflation and wage prices all competing to make the financial future continually uncertain.

The Bank of England (BoE) made fourteen successive increases in the base rate, holding it steady for the first time in September 2023, as a method of controlling rising inflation.

Since lenders and those organisations offering savings accounts set their interest rates according to the BoE's base rate, it has meant that savings accounts don't provide the greatest of expected investments, and any loans will have a significantly high rate for repayments.

All of which makes the idea of moving at the moment even more worrisome.

So, the question is: When is a good time to move?

There are two main considerations: property availability and personal finances.

Property availability

The pandemic - and principally the effects of the public lockdowns - changed the perception of what's required of a home. Space was the prime consideration, whether for somewhere to work from home without interruption, or a garden or availability of other open spaces for exercise without affecting other people.

This appears to be changing as buyers look back to more urbanised options, but the effect was such that the demand for especially rural properties increased the prices dramatically.

But with the economic stagnation coupled with governmental and financial decisions, demand has fallen, which in turn has resulted inhouse prices falling by 5% over the last year with prospects of  house price growth remaining weak.

This should be good news for buyers looking for a suitable property, particular since it is noted that the stock of houses for sale is rising. However, the number of sales are still flatlining.

If you're thinking of renting a home instead while the property market ceases fluctuating and regains some form of stability, there is not that much good news there either as availability is in short supply with rental prices increasing.

Personal finances

A depressing report shows that England is the worst place in the developed world to find housing.

In addition, the impact of base rate rises means that monthly repaymentswill be increased. For those starting out, there are products available to extend the mortgage period so that your monthly payments are lowered (but obviously paid back over a longer overall period).

An interesting article by Which?shows that 10% of mortgage borrowers don't actually know what their rate is. This can be disastrous for the pocket and is a key piece of information that you require: what will be your initial and ongoing financial outlay? And does that fit with your budget? Particularly when you factor in the likely annual and monthly maintenance costs highlighted in your survey.

The cost-of-living crisis is also something to think about, particularly as we are entering the colder months - although the energy price cap has been reduced in time for the season.

All of which might seem very off-putting and worrying for anyone thinking that now might be a good time to move.

Cause for optimism?

The good news, however, is that there are little green shoots of encouraging reasons to be optimistic about the immediate future for the prospective homebuyer.

Price inflation is, for the moment, slowing, particularly for food, while the latest report from the UK's Office for National Statistics shows that the economy has returned to growth - albeit limited - in August, which should stimulate demand and growth in other areas as the BoE are likely to stall any further interest rate rises.

As for moving home? If you can afford to wait, you might wish to consider buying in the new year (2024) as there will be greater deals available on mortgage products, the house market will be looking to invigorate itself post-Christmas, and the green shoots currently witnessed in the economy may well have grown significantly over the next few months.

With the precariousness of finances and the financial world, you'll want to manage all your moving costs closely, including the legal side of things. 

That's where Homeward Legal can really help with affordable but quality conveyancing services! 

They will start work on your planned purchase and/or sale as soon as you agree to the quotation and appoint them to represent you, and will work hard to complete the process in as short a time as possible. 

Homeward Legal will also provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay for standard conveyancing process.

There are some unforeseen items that might arise during the purchase and/or sale, but the solicitor discusses these and their cost as they come up. 

In addition, to protect the homebuyer further, Homeward Legal operates a ‘no completion, no fee' promise, which ensures that, should the purchase or sale not go through as planned to completion status, no payment is required.

Call to get your conveyancing quote started, or to discuss your concerns with your plans to move.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Homeward Legal's easy-to-use quote generator.

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