Brexit: the word that’s been on everyone’s lips since June last year.
And no matter which way you voted, every homeowner will be wondering how our European divorce is going to affect the housing market.
There’s been plenty of hype about a looming crash, falling house prices and an unsteady economy – but although current uncertainty over the market’s future has seen a slowing of house price growth, there’s been little evidence so far of a dip in actual sale prices.
People are quite simply staying put while we negotiate our exit from the EU over the next two years, leading to a reduction in transaction levels. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the number of homes on the market are at a record low, with little interest from buyers – not great news if you need to sell your house fast.
Savills has predicted that the number of houses sold in 2018 will fall 16% compared to this year – so if you’re thinking of moving, now might be a good time to get your house on the market and guarantee a quick sale.
Weaker sterling could boost market
It’s not all doom and gloom though. While London has been suffering from a flatline in prices – and even seen drops in some typically expensive boroughs – the continuing weakness of the pound is likely to attract overseas buyers more than ever before, potentially leading to another boom in growth once our departure from the European Union is finalised. And if Brexit settlements go well, homeowners could see a boost in prices earlier than currently predicted.
Experts suggest that 2017 will be the bottom of the market and activity will rise as confidence returns. Mortgage broker Islay Robinson of Enness Private Clients explains that “this is what happened in 2008: after a short period, experts recognised the bottom of the market and activity started to return as buyers who were holding off began to transact again. Agents are beginning to speak of glimmers of life in prime central London, so we hope that in 2017 people will realise that the market has no further to fall, and they will be driven to invest in London”.
More than the capital
Either way, it’s safe to say the next couple of years will certainly be a dampener on the soaring, unsustainable house prices we’ve seen across London and the South East over the past decade – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Following a slowdown in sales after a tightening of measures for the buy-to-let market, the capital is losing its status as a property powerhouse. This could prove great news for the rest of the country, with buyers considering a move to regional cities such as Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool, boosting the previously slow-moving markets there.
A smart move
So if you’re a Londoner plotting a move to another city – or indeed, a relocation to Europe before Brexit takes full force – cashing in on your London property quickly could be the smartest way out of what will undoubtedly be a long, tricky break up.