Summer 2016 will surely go down in history as one of the most confusing -whichever way you look at it. The intense and controversial political upheavals, the far-reaching economic implications and even the weather have been about as unpredictable as they can be. The Brexit referendum split the country, yet few economic commentators, if any, have put their neck on the line and declared a positive outlook.
Such confusion tends to lead to a lack of confidence. People don’t make big decisions such as moving house unless they feel fairly confident about the future – and few people will feel 100% confident of the future under the circumstances, whichever way they voted.
However, the resilience of the British people has already begun to show itself with most estate agents reporting strong trading since the referendum. Indeed according to Rightmove, there is nothing especially dramatic to report. OK, the price of new properties entering the market is 0.9% down on last month but that is pretty typical of the run-up to summer. The number of new properties coming to market in the two weeks before the referendum fell 8% but bounced back in the two weeks following the referendum.
Certainly the London market has suffered, with some post referendum asking prices having already fallen 10%-15%. But it could be argued that the London market was already overheating and due for a correction.
As for the rest of the UK, life goes on. Interest rates remain historically low and demand considerably exceeds supply, which is likely to support reasonable house prices in the foreseeable future. However any political/economic impact on the local employment situation must be considered when pricing a property to sell. If you are currently considering a move, now might be a good time do so – you’d be taking advantage of pent-up demand that stalled pre-referendum and you’d be putting yourself in a good position as a proceedable buyer by the time more properties inevitably come to market in the autumn.
Confusing times? Maybe not after all! Please feel free to call your local branch if you’d like to discuss how the latest market conditions might affect your own move. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
CEO – Oakfield Estate Agents