Is now the time to buy or rent? 

Whether now is a good time to buy your first home is a question that has a different answer for everyone. Some people will have the financial backing to do so, but are waiting to commit, or could be honing in on the criteria for their ‘dream’ home. Others are working on their deposits, while some won’t currently have any desire to become a homeowner and are happy renting.

What the housing market is currently doing – whether house prices are rising or falling for example – shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your decision to buy if you have the means to do so. That’s because no one knows what the housing market will do in the future, so it’s all a matter of perspective.

Plus, there isn’t a ‘bad’ position to be in, and renting is the best option for a lot of people. But, providing you have the financial backing, and if the mortgage payments are within budget, there’s no harm in exploring what’s out there. Before you do this though, make sure that even with your deposit taken care of, you’ll still have enough left over in your emergency fund to deal with unexpected costs that arise in your day-to-day life.


Latest house prices

Latest figures1 from the Halifax House Price Index at the time of writing showed that UK house price growth had slowed to a 10-year low since December 2012, down from a peak growth rate of 12.5% in June 2022. The Halifax House Price Index also showed a slight increase in the annual rate of house price growth of 0.1% year-on-year in April 2023, which is a significant drop from the 1.6% rise that we saw in March 2023.

Existing property prices have also gone down – by an average of 0.6% – but new-build house prices have gone up by 3.5%. More widely, the UK housing market has shown a mixed picture across its regions. In the south of England, house prices have declined over the last year – with the South East seeing the largest dip at 0.6% on average.

In London, house prices have declined by an average of 0.2% – but it still remains the most expensive area in the country to buy. In all other regions and nations of the UK, house prices have increased. As it currently stands, house prices will likely continue to fluctuate for the remainder of 2023.


Should you buy your first home now?

As ever, our top tip is to lean on expert advice and make sure you’re not overstretching yourself financially. Try to take a medium-term view, and with interest rates expected to fall –  and sellers returning to the market – confidence is coming back, which is great news for the recovery of the UK housing market.

So, if you’ve nearly finished saving your deposit and you’re starting to think about whether now is a good time to buy your first home, you might want to start looking around to get a sense for what’s out there.


Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

1 Halifax House Price Index, April 2023