Adam Oldfield, chief revenue officer at Phoebus, says:

“The Bank of England has today confirmed what most people in the housing industry, and around the country, already knew. 2023 started with a massive lull in activity with the lowest number of mortgage approvals since 2009. Whilst some of the stimulus provided as we came out of the pandemic gave us a false picture compared to previous years, this is still a big slump. Given the uncertainty caused around the mini-budget and the rising interest rate and cost of living environment we can see that, three months down the line when activity is reflected in the statistics, people became very cautious, very quickly.

“Conversely, This does of course mean that the figures for the next couple of months are likely to show a similar trend. However, the news that house price inflation is turning negative may give potential house buyers the incentive to start looking again, especially as the recent inflation report was better than expected. We have a few weeks to wait to discover what the MPC will do when it next sits to discuss the base rate but, in the meantime, spring is a time when historically people start to think about moving. It will be interesting to see how lenders react to this lull, after all lenders need to lend. Whether borrowers need to borrow at the same rates as previously, and if so by when is yet to be seen. Is there any wiggle room to tempt people back to the market?”