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The market remains sound

When it comes to the sale and purchase of residential property, what can we expect in 2019?

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside reports: “While buyer affordability is stretched in some parts of the UK due to house price rises having outstripped wage rises, the underlying fundamentals supporting the housing market are currently sound. Positive employment data and affordable mortgage interest rates at high loan-to-value ratios are key to keeping property prices broadly in line with current levels.

Buyer sentiment has been helped by recent interest rate rises not being fully passed on, which may continue to be the case with any future base rate rises as long as healthy competition remains among lenders keen for new business. The Mortgage Market Review established in 2013 has also been a limiting factor on excessive property price increases by prudently restricting buyers’ borrowing power.

Since the property market’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, many parts of the northern-half of the UK have seen marginal or relatively modest price increases. We predict that these areas will continue to see price rises, though tempered by affordability constraints. In contrast, regions in and around the influence of London saw prices go up in a five-year period by an average of around 40%. Consequently, we forecast that these previously booming areas will continue to see modest downward price re-adjustments in 2019.

Agents in some locations are reporting that home movers are being negatively influenced by the ongoing political uncertainty, and a more certain outlook would obviously assist market sentiment. Whilst uncertainty traditionally deters some discretionary movers, particularly at the high end of the market, there are many would-be buyers and sellers who will be getting on with their lives and will be keeping the market moving.”

This report substantiates Wilsons overview of the present state of the market. Whilst property sales at the top end of the market are often difficult to achieve, the market is most definitely active in the £150,000 - £300,000 range mainly because of the shortage of supply. Brexit or no Brexit, life must go on, people must continue to buy and sell but to ensure success, realistic pricing is essential.

Anyone contemplating a sale in the lower or middle markets has no need to wait until the traditionally busy Easter market, with so little to choose from, now is as good a time as any to take the plunge – just ask any of the eager would-be buyers snapping at our heels!

By Chris Willey

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