The decision by a number of leading mortgage lenders to cut their rates has provided the embattled UK housing market with much-needed hope at the beginning of the year, according to an award-winning Yorkshire residential property developer.
Paul Brown, managing director of Huddersfield-based Yorkshire Country Properties, said that it was vital that confidence returned to the housing market and that lower interest rates were a key factor in this.
HSBC has announced cuts on its residential mortgage interest rates, with several falling below 5% for the first time since April 2023. The largest drop was to its 10-year fixed-rate remortgage deals, one of which is down from 4.99% to 3.99%.
Reductions have also been announced by Britain’s largest mortgage lender, Halifax, including to its two-year fixed-rate remortgage which dropped from 5.64% to 4.81%.
It marks a sharp reduction from last summer when the average rate of a two-year fixed deal hit a 15-year high of 6.66%.
Paul Brown, whose company won two major honours at the prestigious WhatHouse? Awards in December, commented: “There is certainly a degree of positivity in the market going into 2024 that was absent this time last year, driven by an increase in lender confidence. Competition has returned and now the banks are competing with each other once again.
“It is fair to say the stability in interest rates and the general more optimistic market sentiment is now resulting in an increase in enquiry levels, especially in the over £450,000 house price sector. Already this year we have taken two new reservations at our development at Skelmanthorpe, near Huddersfield.
“This positivity is also being reflected in the increase in the number of visits to our Experience Hub at our Shepley development, compared to this time last year, which is extremely encouraging. All our Phase 1 homes at Shepley will now be ready to move into by the end of next month, which marks the conclusion of a development of which we are extremely proud.
“It is so important to remember that all parts of the new homes market aren’t in decline, despite what some pessimists might say. Our starter homes initiative at our three sites in Shepley, Skelmanthorpe and Denby Dale has been incredibly successful with first-time buyers keen to stop paying high rents and to climb on to the property ladder for the first time. There is also strong evidence to suggest that demand for well-built attractive family homes, correctly priced, remains healthy and should gather pace during the next 12 months.
“At Yorkshire Country Properties, we have been buoyed by recognition in a range of awards in 2023, winning two major honours in the WhatHouse? awards and being shortlisted in the Yorkshire Post Real Estate and the Yorkshire Business Insider Property awards for our developments at Shepley, Skelmanthorpe and Denby Dale.
“This recognition has meant a tremendous amount to our hard-working team and given us the confidence to progress two prestigious new West Yorkshire developments, one at Grange Moor, Kirklees, and the other in the very popular Huddersfield postcode of HD9. Yes, 2023 was tough, but these mortgage rate cuts are just the boost the housing market needs.”