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Taking the long view on buying property

"This year, perhaps more so than ever, that decision making process might be causing some headaches.

"At Harrison Murray our valuers are being asked lots of questions by potential sellers: What is happening with the economy? Will the Euro survive? What are employment prospects in 2012? And of course, will house prices go up or down this year?

"We read the numerous press reports of whether prices are up, down or sideways by what are often very small monthly percentages but what do these really mean to the average homeowner? 

"The average house price is about £160,000. If prices went down five per cent in the next 12 months then this time next year the average house price would be £152,000. 

"That’s a paper loss of £8,000 but it would only become material if you had to sell. If you live in the property you may have to pay the mortgage but the property is still yours in the long term.

"And it’s the long term that should always be considered when thinking about whether or not to buy a property.

"No-one can be certain where house prices will be in a year’s time – most commentators seem to think a small fall (1%- 5%) is possible. But what is more certain is that, based on price trends over many decades, in five or ten years time we will look back on 2012 and say ‘Weren’t properties cheap back then!’

"Buy a home to live in, take a long-term view of the investment, and you’ll be glad you made the move.  And if you have to sell, then do it sooner rather than later because if prices do slip a little this year you could end up losing if you wait too long or are too greedy with your asking price.

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