Too many sellers are wedded to the idea that prices will rise after a Brexit deal is resolved, says one of the country’s most prominent estate agents.
Jeremy Leaf, north London agent and a former RICS residential chairman, made the claim after the release of government figures showing that the rate of house price growth across the UK was slowing further, with London in negative territory.
"Once again, we are seeing house prices in London acting as a drag on a market which is softening anyway. Prices continue to be supported by lack of stock, improving affordability and almost record low mortgage rates and unemployment” explains Leaf.
“Overall, despite renewed interest from buyers there are too many sellers still wedded to the idea that prices will increase perhaps when Brexit is resolved and/or some political stability returns. The reality is that only those sellers who are realistic enough to recognise new market conditions are proving successful” he cautions.
There government’s official House Price Index shows a dip in price growth across the UK on average - the annual rate was 1.4 per cent in the year to April, down from 1.6 per cent a month earlier.
Strong growth was seen in Wales, spiking to 6.7 per cent annual growth from 3.9 per cent a year ago, while the average house price in England increased only 1.1 per cent over the year to April.
House prices in Scotland increased 1.6 per cent in the 12 month period, well down from the 3.5 per cent in the year to March 2019. Northern Ireland house prices increased 3.5 per cent over the year to the first quarter of 2019.
By region, the lowest annual growth was in London, where prices fell by 1.2 per cent over the year to April 2019; in March an annual fall of 2.5 per cent had been recorded.
The East Midlands was the English region with the highest annual growth, followed by the North West.
Amongst other agents commenting on the latest data, Marc von Grundherr - director of Benham and Reeves - says: “While conditions remain slower than we might otherwise like, it takes time to return to form after suffering a setback like the slowdown that has plagued the UK property market over the last year or so. The rot is even reversing in the London market and although prices are still down annually, this rate of decline is slowing, and it will only be a matter of time before the capital registers a new era of positive price growth.”
Colby Short, founder and chief executive of comparison website GetAgent, adds: “The major sticking point slowing the market has been the price sellers are willing to accept but with transactions increasing, this obstacle when securing a sale seems to be subsiding.”