A key feature of the UK property market in recent years has been the growing divide between London and the rest of the UK, with the capital increasingly proving far more expensive to buy in.

A factor in this has been demographics. Like other UK cities, a rising urban population has meant high demand and growing pressure on supply.

A key question of late, however, has been whether the upward trend in London’s population that has been in place since the end of the 1980s is going into reverse because of the pandemic. There has been an exodus as many have looked to live outside the metropolis in places with more space indoors and out.

With remote working now the norm for many and 43 of Britain’s 50 largest companies telling the BBC they will not require a full post-pandemic office return, living in the capital may not be so necessary.

This raises the question ‘is now a good time to buy in London, and are yet to get their foot on the housing ladder to do so. As ever, any first time buyer in London will need good advice.

A key issue is the likely trajectory of house prices. In theory, these could fall if there is a continued net decline in population. Alternatively, they could rise if people decide to move back after the pandemic, attracted by the reopening of London’s cultural, entertainment and sporting facilities.

Discussing the question of where UK house prices will go with a panel of experts, iNews found a widespread view that a recent surge in purchases and prices across the UK has been fuelled by the stamp duty holiday.

Among these were Guy Harrington, the chief executive of residential lender Glenhawk, who said “the honeymoon won’t go on forever”, and predicted a “painful” correction later in the year.

Kaan Emin of Apply Mortgages pointed to the end of furlough as a possible factor later this year, suggesting some may lose their jobs when this happens and be unable to staying their homes, leading to distress sales and repossessions that produce an abundance of available lower-priced properties.

The recently-published Nationwide figures for April showed the average house price had surged 2.1 per cent since March, the highest month-on-month rise since 2004. That may be taken as a response to the announcement of an extension of the stamp duty holiday in the Budget in March. If so, it could be unlikely to be repeated in the following months.

Nationwide’s data would certainly provide two elements of cheer for first-time buyers in London. Firstly, as its chief economist Robert Gardner noted, the build-up of savings by those whose incomes have been sustained during the pandemic “will help more first time buyers to enter the housing market” by providing more funds for deposits.

Secondly, the latest Nationwide regional figures, produced in March, showed that London had seen the weakest price growth in the first quarter of any UK region, at 4.8 per cent.

So whether it is London’s market weakness and demographic decline, the government help available for first-time buyers or the prospect of increased supply later this year, now may be a very good time for first-time buyers in the capital to seek mortgage advice.

For more information about any of our services, or if you have any questions regarding is now a good time to buy in London, get in touch by calling us on 0203 3939 222.

Get in Touch
Hannah D
Hannah D
07:42 09 Sep 19
I would fully recommend Greg and Greenacre Financial Services. As a first time buyer I was daunted by the process of... finding the right mortgage for me however Greg made the process really simple, clear and quick. He was always available to answer any questions and happy to explain everything. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Greenacre FS to my friends and family.read more
Jessica Cohen
Jessica Cohen
19:33 26 Aug 19
We first met with Greg in May for advice as we had adverse credit and irregular pay and didn't think a mortgage was in... our reach. Less than two weeks later Greg had fully arranged a great deal for us on our first mortgage. He was available whenever we needed him, 7 days a week and in the evenings. We cannot thank Greg enough for helping us buy our first home!read more
Seren Fletcher
Seren Fletcher
08:56 24 Aug 19
Would highly recommend Greg and Greenacre Financial Services. Was extremely professional and helpful. Our mortgage... wasn’t straight forward due to my husband being self employed but Greg was very knowledgable and managed to find us a really good mortgage. Looking forward to working with him again in the futureread more
13:24 23 Aug 19
Graham at Greenacre was excellent in helping me get a mortgage for my house purchase. He was always available when... needed, provided an efficient service and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommended!read more
Ian Hatter
Ian Hatter
11:07 16 Aug 19
What can I say, Greg has been absolutely amazing in sorting out a mortgage for me I never thought was possible. It has... meant I have been able to buy a house, a few months ago, I would never have dreamed of being able to buy after talking to high street lenders. He worked exceptionally hard and always kept me updated with every step of the process. Buying a house is extremely stressful, but Greg took all that stress away from me. I cannot recommend Greg enough to anyone looking to buy a property. Thank you so much for your help Greg, it's greatly appreciated.read more
Sean Kelly
Sean Kelly
15:27 30 Jul 19
10/10 EXCEPTIONAL service and result. Highly recommend. Greg and the Greenacre Financial Services team were fast,... knowledgeable, and honest. All the qualities you want and need. Very pleased I was recommended to Greenacre. Customer for life!read more
More reviews