Estate agents often complain that national media report a ‘crashing’ property market and ‘extortionate’ rents but that this picture rarely reflects what’s happening on the ground.
And now they have a champion. Senior industry figure Kate Faulkner has broken ranks and criticised both national newspapers and big data firms for publishing doomsday reports that, although they make good headlines, are often not accurate.
Faulkner says this kind of rhetoric has persuaded many first-time buyers that they cannot afford to get on the property ladder, even though prices on the ground in many areas of the nation are affordable.
“Why is the industry not focusing on how to afford a property in their local area and why is everyone continuing to tell people it’s ‘impossible’ to buy?,” she asks.
Her latest property price report reveals that house prices are more affordable than they were 13 years ago in many places including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the NE, West and Yorkshire.
“The Nationwide HPI report shows that affordability wise, in the last quarter of 2007, in the North East, mortgage payments took up 40.5% of FTBs pay, now it’s just 19%,” she says.
“And even in London, it’s fallen from 69.6% to 56.2% – of course still incredibly tough in the Capital – but when you look around the rest of the UK, the idea that affordability is still the issue it was before the credit crunch is nuts.”
Faulkner also claims that the problem of saving up a deposit is also over-egged.
“Nationwide have produced a really good chart showing how many years it would take for FTBs between five to 15 years to save a 20% deposit,” she says.
“What this doesn’t tell people though, is you don’t need a 20% deposit, especially in areas around the Midlands and North.”
Find out more about Kate Faulkner.