I have been reading quite a few forecasts of the property market of late. As usual, I regard these reports with a healthy degree of scepticism as nobody really knows what the future holds, however, much of an expert they like to portray themselves. And clearly, some of them have their own agenda to promote.

Money Week, for example, has always been extremely pessimistic about property investment as a vehicle to build wealth as anyone who has read their panic-inducing ads will know.

Could this possibly be because a) they don’t understand it or b) they want to sell you their ‘Special Reports’ on Gold, Oil, Timbuktu Stocks (or whatever) so you can learn about the imminent disaster about to afflict the whole world, apart from, of course, those with the inside scoop.

I used to subscribe to Money Week as it has much worth reading – but the continual drip drip of articles designed largely to create a sense of fear and panic (and sell Special Reports) was, in the end, just too much. I had to stop before I slashed my wrists. One thing I do remember though before cancelling my subscription 3 or 4 years ago was its editor, Merryn Somerset-Webb, writing about how financially stupid it was for us English to own our own homes. Apparently, she had just sold her house in Battersea and was going to rent from then on. Hmmm I wonder how she feels about that now. Not so smug, I wager.

Probably the two most reliable property forecasts I have read are Savills where you can see likely growth region by region:

Savills five-year forecast

and The Centre For Business and Economics Research which reports: a typical house in the UK is expected to cost £227,000 in 2014, surpassing the 2007 pre-crisis peak for the first time. By 2018, we expect a typical UK home will cost £267,000, as house prices rise by 4.6% over that year. In 2018, we predict UK house prices will be 20.4% higher than this year.

In short, both forecast that growth in areas outside London and its environs are expected to be steady and moderate (between 2-5% a year on average) over the next 5 years. That, to me, seems about right.

As those of you who have attended our investor evenings know from my talks house prices are set to rise faster than rents and, as prices rise, yields will fall. At The House Crowd, we have had a good run at buying properties at rock bottom prices but it is becoming tougher to find the deals. Rather than sitting round moaning about ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ (Google it if you don’t know what I’m on about) we have to adapt to changing market conditions. We have been discussing this and have several potential strategies to accommodate changes in the market. We will be developing these in 2014 and will, of course, keep you informed.