Undeniably, the recent update on when the UK will leave the EU, and the uncertainty of the terms under which it may happen, is prolonging any suspense amongst those looking to move to a new house.
EU leaders have recently voted to extend the UK’s Brexit deadline again, until 31st October. However, the UK could still leave the EU before then if Theresa May’s deal wins enough support from parliament. The prime minister has so far failed to secure enough votes from MPs to push her deal through, but cross-party talks are continuing in a bid to break the deadlock.
While MPs have repeatedly voted against the UK leaving the EU without a deal, the results are not legally binding. A no-deal Brexit remains the default position if an agreement cannot be reached between the UK and EU.
So, what does all of this mean for the property market, and what impact has the vote to leave the EU already made on house prices and sales volumes?
Are UK house prices falling?
House prices did stagnate for a while following the referendum in June 2016, but this could well have been down to the usual pattern of prices growing in spring and plateauing over summer, which we also saw in 2017.
Whilst the rate of growth has decreased in England, house prices themselves haven’t – and many argue that the slowdown in England is simply a long-overdue market correction.
Another way of assessing the health of the housing market is to look at transaction volumes, the number of property sales in any given month. A lower number of sales can indicate market uncertainty, which is often triggered by events such as an election or a referendum.
Transaction figures show that the referendum didn’t seem to have much of an impact. According to HMRC’s most recent seasonally adjusted figures, there were slightly more house sales in February 2019 than in the same month the year before.
What’s the pre-Brexit market like for sellers?
Two commonly used measures of how the market is performing for sellers are stock per branch – which is the average amount of properties on each estate agency’s books – and time to sell.
Figures show that it’s taken people a little longer to sell their homes recently than in previous years. In January however, the average time for a property to go under offer shot up to the highest on record since the referendum. Stock per branch was also up year-on-year.
What do the experts think?
What lies ahead for the future of the UK property market? Experts say that whilst the political situation may be in turmoil, it’s important that buyers and homeowners don’t panic or make any rash decisions.
Here at Mansell McTaggart, we’re sure many people are waiting until we know more about whether the UK will leave with a deal, but this could go on a while and it’s tough putting your life on hold for an unknown.
As it stands, the only thing that’s clear is that nothing is clear – Hang on in there. Once the Brexit details are clearer, we’ll have a degree of certainty which may trigger the anticipated flurry of activity.