Home owners paying lowest mortgage interest in years

City A.M. Reporter
BARRATT Developments, the housebuilder, yesterday said recent bad weather had led to a flurry of online enquiries as it reported stronger first-half trading, adding to hopes the worst is over for the sector.

Chief executive Mark Clare said online enquiries more than doubled in recent weeks as a countrywide cold snap forced many people to stay indoors or work from home.

“People haven’t been able to get to the sites, but the good news is that people have been doing an awful lot of shopping online,” said Clare.

“I’d hope that once the snow clears, those people will visit our sites,” he said, adding nearly all house purchases now originate from web enquiries, with 4,000 leads on average a week from its websites.

The housebuilder, one of the three largest in the UK, said a switch to houses from apartments in its portfolio mix had led to selling prices rising four per cent to an average of £167,000. This is set to rise by up to 10 per cent by the end of its financial year. House prices rose for a sixth consecutive month in December, according to mortgage lender Halifax on Thursday, with prices in the fourth quarter 3.5 per cent higher than in the third.