As most property professionals will tell you, since the 2016 referendum the property market has been a bit of a rollercoaster and 2019 was no exception. It was a challenging year for the property market as economic and political uncertainty understandably makes people hold back on moving and making big purchasing decisions. This was reflected across the UK- at the beginning of last year RICS UK Residential Market Survey found that enquiries, agreed sales and new instructions had all declined across the UK (The Negotiator 01/2019) and in Q4 of 2019 The Bank of England reported that the property market ‘remained subdued’ with housing supply outweighing demand, which led to price reductions in the South of England (Bank of England, Q4, 2019).
However, we’ve also seen incredible resilience in 2019. Despite the political instability, we come across many different life circumstances and the common theme for a lot of people is that they can’t hold back forever and they’d like to move on with their lives. Actually, sometimes, it is a good time to think about getting on the property ladder and upsizing as one could argue that you can get better value for money in a distressed market- indeed, 2019 did see an increase in first time buyers. That being said, from the seller perspective, in a distressed market when there is reduced housing stock, sometimes properties just coming to market can get a better figure because there is less competition around.
Of course, more stability is needed for the property market to fully recover and this was truly displayed in the lead up to the election where across the board in the UK RICS Residential Market Survey noted that ‘market activity [was] stagnant’ at this period (RICS, 2019).
However, post-election it was very positive to see indicators such as an increase in valuation requests and property portal traffic increases (Rightmove’s website traffic post election increasing by 28% across the UK and 54% between 13/12/2019 and 16/12/2019) (The Negotiator, 12/2019) suggesting that the election results are giving people more confidence and the stability needed to move forward.
After the election, Miles Shipside, Director of Rightmove stated that whilst ‘2019 has undoubtedly been a year of challenge but has also been a year of resilience’ and ‘with much of the political uncertainty removed, [Rightmove] expect[s] that the number of properties for sale will recover as more new sellers come to market, making up some of [2019’s] lost ground.” (Today's Conveyancer 12/2019)
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA Propertymark) is also positive saying that “Despite the difficult year, the UK property market remains a strong sector overall, and has demonstrated a huge amount of resilience in the face of political turmoil. We hope for a more certain outlook and some stability in 2020” and “Once the current political impasse is resolved and it’s clear how and when we’ll be leaving the EU, we hope there will be a degree of certainty which may trigger a flurry of activity.” (Today's Conveyancer 12/2019).
This in line with the RICS survey ‘Respondent [anticipation] that prices will return to growth over the next twelve months’ (RICS 11/2019) and a consistent sentiment for many industry professionals (The Negotiator, 12/2019; The Negotiator, 12/2019).
So a positive outlook for 2020 overall! Indeed, in this first week, we have seen an increase activity from potential buyers and sellers and we are hopeful for more stability in the property market over the next few months.
Thank you for reading our first blog entry. If you’d like to get in contact with us to discuss the property market or any of our services, we would be delighted to hear from you!
Lara Wadsworth BA (Hons)
John Wadsworth Estate Agents