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House prices defy Brexit uncertainty

The price of newly-marketed property has increased by an average of 0.9% (+£2,841) this month, buoyed as usual by the higher buyer demand associated with the more active spring market. What is surprising against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty is that four out of eleven regions of the country are showing few signs of any Brexit blues and have set new record highs for average asking prices.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst commented earlier this week: “Price increases are the norm at this time of year, with only one fall in the last ten years, as new-to-the-market sellers’ price aspirations are under-pinned by the higher buyer demand that is a feature of the spring market. Indeed the 0.9% monthly rise is consistent with the previous two years’ average rise of 1.0% over the same period. What will seem inconsistent to some, given the ongoing uncertainty of the Brexit outcome, is that four out of eleven regions have hit record highs for new seller asking prices.”

Prospective buyers in Wales, the West and East Midlands, and the North West are being confronted with average prices of property coming to market at all-time highs. While the national rate of increase is virtually flat at +0.1% compared to a year ago, these regions have considerably higher prices than at this time last year, with Wales breaking through the £200,000 barrier for the first time. By contrast, London and its commuter belt (the South East and East of England regions) have seen year-on-year falls.

Compared to the rest of the UK, property owners in the regions which have reached new record prices seem to be overcoming hesitancy to come to market. Their average number of new sellers so far in 2019 is holding steady compared with last year, at just 0.3% down. In contrast the remaining seven regions are seeing new listing numbers for the year to date down by an average of 6.5% compared with the same period in 2018.

Miles Shipside continued: “Activity breeds activity and a greater choice of fresh properties in these record-setting regions helps to spur buyers into action, especially if they have a property to sell. This in turn adds another new listing that might then tempt another buyer, in a virtuous circle. And in much of the rest of the country, despite the ongoing political uncertainty, agents are reporting that the lure of the right property at the right price still attracts good interest. In spite of some of the challenges in the market, interest in property remains very high. People’s ongoing desire to satisfy their pent-up housing needs means that on average someone contacts an agent on Rightmove every second.”

This report bears a close resemblance of activity so far this year at Wilsons. Some prices being paid are a little higher. There are more buyers on the scene than we have been expecting and the right properties at the right prices are attracting good interest as soon as they come on to the market.

By Chris Willey
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