House prices expected to rise in 2016
In one respect, it doesn’t really matter.
Assuming your house is your home, it probably isn’t an investment but rather a place to live for the rest of your life.
However, house prices are clearly linked to a feeling of personal prosperity.
The economy tends to perform better during times of rising house prices simply because we feel wealthier and are more likely to spend money.
Rising house prices typically mean a rising equity value in property, so in a worst case scenario we could ‘downsize’ and release some of that cash to live on in later life.
So what are house prices likely to do in 2016?
According to the latest forecasts from Halifax, expected house price inflation in 2016 is 4% to 6% by the end of next year.
Halifax are predicting an increasing difficulty in getting on the housing ladder, together with the increasing prospect of a rate rise, which is expected start to put the brakes on house price growth during 2016.
An interest rates start to rise, so will the cost and affordability of borrowing; a factor which is likely to slow down house price growth as buyers will be reluctant to borrow more.
Halifax mention in their forecast that, during 2015, house market activity levels have remained modest by historical standards.
They say that a continuing shortage of housing supply is likely to continue to act as a significant constraint on activity in 2016.
London house prices, which in recent years have experienced the biggest rises, are accordingly to Halifax likely to face the sharpest slowdown next year.
Despite this slightly gloomy outlook, all regions are expected to see price rises in 2016.
With price inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index in negative territory, an expected average rise of 4-6% next year could be viewed as very healthy.
Looking beyond 2016, Halifax expects house price growth to be in line with income growth, as steadily rising interest rates increase the affordability constraint on demand.
However, something we know about forecasting is that it tends to be less reliable as the timescale is stretched.
We can be reasonably confident about a twelve month forecast, but less so about a forecast considering the longer term.
How much do you think your house will be worth by the end of 2016 and how will you factor this into your overall Financial Planning?