While it’s still uncertain what the specific outcome of Brexit is going to be – or, in fact, if it will actually take place – it would be foolish to not prepare regardless of the current confused political landscape.
Far from fearmongering to suggest that it will have a real impact across a multitude of major aspects of our day-to-day lives, one such aspect is the housing market in the UK, which has been known to fluctuate in a fairly active manner in conjunction with how the overall economy is fairing.
Anyone looking to make any moves with the residential property market – be that to buy, sell, rent or invest – should be especially prudent.
There is, of course, no way of knowing what is going to happen with any absolute certainty, but we can explore any possible opportunities or threats that can be anticipated in advance, which may help the next few months and years from becoming completely disorientating.
Having already stagnated over the past year, there is some disagreement surrounding whether or not the housing market has already begun to react to Brexit, and the uncertainty surrounding it.
Some early indications suggest that higher taxation and stricter bank lending may become additional concerns over time, and since the referendum took place in 2016, house prices have continued to rise, but at a slower rate than the two years that preceded it.
According to date from the Land Registry, the average cost of a residential property in June 2016 was £212, 887 – but by April of 2018, this risen 6.6% to £226,906.
This doesn’t reflect the behaviour of the market overall, however, with quarterly collated suggesting that the market has been stalling.
Rising and falling without correlation to inflation, some months have seen house prices actually fall on average despite the overall growth reported, meaning that the entire picture seems far more unsteady and potentially volatile than the longer-term figures may suggest, as there has yet to have been a catalyst to tip the market violently in either direction.
Not just about prices, the amount of business being done is actually decreasing.
Transaction levels have plummeted, with sales projected to have fallen by as much as a quarter overall in April 2018, with estate agents – such as Andrews - and conveyancers alike alluding to less instructions coming their way since the referendum result was announced.
While it cannot be definitively claimed that it is indeed Brexit that is deterring people from buying, selling or entering the market at all, there does seem to be some logic behind the notion that people are waiting to see what happens before committing to such a large financial decision.