A partner at Carter Jonas says that the next 12 months could see stagnation in the market and as a result “a shake-out with some estate agents facing branch closures."
Mark Charter, who works at the Oxford office of Carter Jonas, has told local media outlets that Countrywide’s profits warning at the end of last week came on top of a 30 per cent drop in transaction levels as measured by Land Registry completions.
“The total number of homes sold is down everywhere but not everywhere is suffering as badly as Oxford, London and Cambridge” he warns.
“First-time buyers have the help to buy stimulus and stamp duty changes can also lead to them getting on the property ladder but there is an affordability issue further up the chain. People can not afford to trade up and that is contributing to the stagnating market” he adds.
He estimates that some families would have to spend £250,000 to effectively trade up the ladder to a larger house, once transaction costs are added to the property price.
“Once they have factored in all the costs of moving they are deciding to stay where they are for the time being” he says.
In his patch, Oxford, the agent says the average time between house moves has slumped to once every 17.8 years - the highest since records began.
“Brexit is not the only factor for potential buyers sitting on their hands but it has to be a factor. However, the market is cyclical and once there is more certainty over Brexit in 2019 the market should start to pick up” he concludes.
“Once the Brexit issue unlocks in 2019 the market will improve. Until then estate agents will have to react to market conditions and set their businesses accordingly.”
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