‘Fundamentals’ of housing market ‘are fine’, says Phil Spencer

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Moving house has been a lottery for many people in the past few months, with turbulent house prices and mortgage rates making it difficult to secure a new home. But while the prospect of purchasing a property as a first-time buyer seems impossible for many, Phil Spencer has urged Britons to give it a go while the “fundamentals” of today’s market “are fine”.

Speaking at the Ideal Home Show at Olympia London, the “Location Location Location” host revealed that he believes now is in fact a good time to move house in the UK.

He said: “The only way to confidently make the decision on whether to stay or to go, how much should I invest, is to actually go and do it.

“Do the research spend the money, invest in your home, lift its value, try and sort out the problems and then see if you have sorted them out.

“Meanwhile, go and have a look in the market and see what your hopefully improved budget could buy you, and then you’ll be making a decision from an informed point and an informed place.”

The show, which will run until Sunday, April 2, saw the property expert debunk a common myth amongst Britons – that the housing market is unsettled.

He explained that while there are limitations on the amount of help offered to buyers, particularly those doing it for the first time, it is a somewhat prosperous time.

Phil told the Ideal Home Show audience: “I believe that the general market conditions across the housing market are okay, they are considered settling.

“And that’s coming off the back of a really crazy couple of years, which would, beyond belief, actually, the fundamentals of the market today I believe are fine.”

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The 52-year-old acknowledged that it may seem daunting to embark on the moving process after the “uncertainty” of last year, though there are ways to make the transition more “gentle”.

Phil noted that despite the news of banks “pulling money” and mortgages while interest rates were rising at the back end of 2022, “things aren’t as bad” now.

And when it comes to getting the ball rolling on moving, buyers should have more luck with securing a good estate agent.

He said: “I genuinely don’t think there are many unscrupulous agents out there anymore. They have a bad reputation that has come with them from a long time ago, and whilst there are definitely some dodgy practices out there, I genuinely believe those times have gone.”

To find the best agent, Phil warned against choosing them based on price, and instead, give your home “due care and attention” by paying “proper money” to get good advice.

He added: “My advice would actually be to look for a Property Mark agent – Property Mark is the biggest umbrella group of agents who are coming up with their own regulation.

“They’re getting agents to take exams and to follow a code of practice. So, look for an agent that belongs to that umbrella, I think there are 18,000 agents within that umbrella and it’s a good safe place to be.”

And as your “most valuable asset”, getting the best person to handle your potential home is even more important if you’re new to the property ladder.

Phil said: “It’s all about preparation and research. Before you go looking, before you step foot into a property, there’s a lot of research and preparation to be done.

“The first thing really to do is work out how much you can afford. So go and see an independent financial adviser or broker and get your budget pinned down – you can’t go shopping for something until you know how much you’ve got to spend.

“Once you know what you’ve got to spend, then you can think about where you could buy one bed or a two bed, whatever you’re looking for and identify the areas.

“So it’s a gentle process, money, then area and size of the property and having done that, then you can start looking.”

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