Three months after the Brexit referendum and there has been no property market apocalypse as some had predicted. As ever, we British are very good at keeping calm and carrying on. Fortunately the referendum itself was simply a pointer to change, not a change in itself and we probably have three years over which to adjust to the gradual implications that may affect the market.
In the meantime, as with any major economic or political event, the market was somewhat put on hold over the summer, with reported transactions only now showing themselves. Whilst the latest transaction volumes were up year on year to July by 8.3%, this is lower than the 9.7% recorded last July. And most of these latest transactions would have been agreed prior to the referendum result.
More telling might be that mortgage approvals, according to e.surv, were nearly 5% down on the same time last year and house price growth according to The Halifax house price index is at its lowest for three years at 6.9%, down from 10% in March, although much of this fall could be attributed to seasonal effects and wild differences across the country. Some areas of London for example have experienced a slowdown whilst others have seen rises of up to 18.7%. The Land Registry now puts the average house price at £216,750 nationally – up 8.3% on the year based on July’s figures, while Rightmove reports a 10.5% hike in asking prices of new sellers during August.
Interestingly, the RICS reports that new sales listings have fallen at the fastest rate ever, possibly indicating a “wait and see” attitude from sellers. Buyers on the other hand appear much more confident, especially with interest rates at 0.25%! This imbalance of supply and demand, plus medium- to long-term uncertainty suggests that people considering a sale in 2017 and beyond might be well advised to bring their decision forward. Not only would they be able to maximise their own sale price, but they’d be in a stronger position as they themselves become buyers as more properties potentially come to market, at a time when things might not seem so rosy.