House prices are set to grow modestly in the coming months and the interest rate cycle will reach its peak by the end of 2007, according to members of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).
The news comes just hours before the Bank of England is due to announce its latest decision on interest rates.
A survey of IMLA members found 55% believe house prices will rise by around 2%-3% over the next quarter, while 45% thought they would remain stable.
Over a longer time span of 12 months, 75% of IMLA members say they expect house prices to rise by between 3% and 12%, with 20% saying they will remain stable. The remaining 5% expected house prices to fall, with some saying they could fall by as much as 7%.
Commenting on the findings, IMLA executive director, Peter Williams, says: “Our members expect the housing market to cool significantly over the coming year, but not to go into reverse. The house price inflation they expect, of just over 5%, is around half the level registered over the past year by Halifax and Nationwide.”
Most intermediary lenders agree that interest rates will peak at 6% by the end of the year, with two claiming rates have already peaked at 5.75% and one says rates could reach 6.5%. The majority of lenders expect rates to begin falling in 2008, though not as steeply as they have risen over the past year.
Williams adds: “The good news for consumers is that by the end of next year, intermediary lenders expect rates to be at a lower level than they are now, and house price inflation will have cooled significantly.”
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