It has been said time and time again that the uncertainty around Brexit is causing, well, uncertainty.
As I write this, the UK has less than a week until we are planned to leave Europe, and despite this being an ongoing situation for over three years now, we are still not sure what next week, and the months after, may bring.
There’s no denying that the economic uncertainty has affected the property market. As each deadline has neared, the property market has, each time, taken a wobble.
Throughout this year, house price growth slowed year-on-year, and the number of transactions also took a dip.
However, with this all in mind, we are still seeing movement within the property market. There has been good news for homeowners over the last quarter as prices recovered and the market has appeared to balance out between a buyers and sellers’ market.
This October, we have seen a positive increase with the number of buyers, viewings and also offers increasing, compared to this time last year.
Within the industry there does seem to be a mix in decisions being made, and individual decisions and circumstances are clearly playing a huge part, making it hard to make a blanket judgement on the market.
We are certainly seeing essential moves continue, however those that are only thinking about a move and potentially fall in the group of ‘non-essential’ movers are, unsurprisingly, being more put off.
In our areas we are also seeing first-time buyers being unaffected, as the Help to Buy schemes, and mortgage approval rates, continue to keep this segment of the market buoyant.
However, we are seeing that buyers wanting to purchase at the higher end are holding off more, to see what happens with regards to stamp duty, and the general economy in the near future.
This is also affecting sellers of the top percentage of properties which are taking longer to sell.
One trend that is being seen throughout the whole of the market is that buyers are taking their chance by putting in much lower offers, which again is potentially putting sellers off.
Many people within the industry are now advising buyers not to wait any longer, and to start making more serious offers and plans, as this uncertainty is unlikely to continue for much longer.
Sometimes it is better to work with what you know rather than take a risk and try to predict what the situation will be in six months’ time.
The uncertainty within the market has arguably disproportionately affected buyers and sellers, as landlords and tenants remain the least affected.
Since the tenant fee ban, earlier this year, rents are at an all-time higher. However, tenant demand has not decreased and landlords are easily achieving these increased rents.
Landlords that are active within the market, and potentially looking to expand their portfolio, are taking the opportunity to make the most of the unique circumstances.
Existing landlords are taking advantage of the low interest rates on buy-to-let mortgages, meaning that they are able to secure both funds and properties relatively easily. The only factor that we are seeing affect landlords is the uncertain future of Section 21 notices.
I hope that within the next month, there is some clarity and potential plan put in place that will settle the current ‘what ifs’ that everyone has been surrounded by for the last three years.
Although I do not know how these conditions will change in the next week, let alone the next few months, I am confident that transactions will pick up in the New Year.
*Ellie Donaghy is head of lettings at Andrews Property Group