It’s not just the high-end market for homes in the south east that’s hit by Brexit according to the Guild of Property Professionals - first time buyers are being deterred in some areas, too, although the picture is patchy across the country.
“Over the past couple of years, the government’s initiatives to increase first-time buyer activity in the market has borne fruit with the numbers of first-time buyers at a 12 year high. However, concerns regarding Brexit and its implications on the housing market has had an impact and first-time buyer numbers have dwindled in certain areas” explains Iain McKenzie, The Guild’s chief executive.
A series of reports from the local markets of members of The Guild’s National Advisory Council gives an indication of the picture nationwide.
According to Chris Sawyer, managing director at Sawyer & Co in Brighton and Hove, Brexit is having a significant impact.
“We are seeing first-time buyers showing fragile confidence in the market, which is understandable given the gloomy picture that is painted,” he says. “Many have adopted a wait-and-see-what-happens approach. With an average house price of £400,000, even a small change to value can have an impact on the buying power.”
At the other end of the county Nick Manson, managing director at Manson Property Consultants in Newcastle, says FTBs are pausing and he adds that warnings from Mark Carney from the Bank of England that a disruptive no deal Brexit could cause a 35 per cent drop in house prices are also impacting buyer’s decisions.
In London, Conran Estates at Greenwich says first time buyers are very apprehensive with Brexit uncertainty pin-pointed as the primary issue. First-time buyers who are taking the leap are generally giving offers below the asking prices, it says.
First-time buyer activity has slowed to a trickle in the Midlands, according to Bill Tandy in Lichfield.
However, he says that Brexit is not the main antagonist but rather deposit requirements and the high value of the second-hand market. He adds that low stock and good availability are the main fundamentals at play, aspects that will not change when the dust of Brexit has settled.
For some it is business as usual in terms of the first-time buyer market. According to Simon Miller, Managing Director at Holroyd Miller in Wakefield, being predominantly a leave area, first-time buyers are not worried in the slightest by Brexit, as employment levels are stable.
Brexit has not had a great impact on the area overall and first-time buyers are carrying on as they always have, with no hesitation.
Craig Reynolds, owner of Urban & Rural in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, says: “First-time buyers are generally not holding back but if they are, it is due to other factors - not Brexit. These include elements such as mortgage availability and lending restrictions. House prices have fallen slightly, which has helped first-time buyers. With Brexit having been a saga for two years now, people are just getting bored with it and are carrying on undeterred.”
In Wales, Melfyn Williams, managing director at Williams & Goodwin The Property People Ltd, says Brexit has not impacted his area at all. “First-time buyers seem to be ignoring the press which is the most harmful thing surrounding Brexit. The attitude seems to be that everyone is still going to need a home or to move home at some point.”
And Webbers, with offices in North Devon and Somerset, says it’s seeing a low number of first-time buyers, but those who are active are not deterred by Brexit.