Is The Media Creating The Next Housing Boom?

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There’s been lots of media coverage about housing market recovery over the last few weeks. Suddenly there’s a feeling that if you don’t make that move now you might not be able to afford to very soon. Experts everywhere are staking their claim that housing is on the up:

  • Mortgages are at their most affordable for 14 years (Halifax).
  • 10,000 new homes had been reserved by buyers since April under the first phase of the Government’s Help To Buy scheme.
  • House prices are rising at their fastest level in seven years (RICS) and not just in London.
  • Interest rates are set to remain at historically low levels for the next three years (Bank of England).
  • House price inflation jumped 4.6% in the three months to July (Halifax again)
  • The number of first time buyers has hit its highest since 2007 (Council of Mortgage Lenders).

It set me thinking which comes first – the real improvement? Or media talk of an improvement?

Certainly when the recession first hit, the ‘doom and gloom’ headlines did nothing to stop the housing market spiralling into decline. Is it possible that the constant talk of prices rising is now forcing people to rush out and sign up for their next home?

Some experts are already countering with the argument that we’re heading for a “property price bubble” that can’t be sustained.

Wouldn’t it be simpler if we all accepted that, with a few exceptions (e.g. those downsizing in a falling market), the profit or loss on our homes is only ‘on paper’ as we’ll reinvest it in another property at some point? So, if what we own now goes up in value, we’ll pay more for what we buy; and if it’s worth less, we’ll pay less for our next home. Let’s just move house when we need to or want to and not when the media tells us we should – or is that just not playing the game?