The latest data shows that house prices in Great Britain rose 0.9% year-on-year in June, a third of the rate that they were rising last year. Meanwhile London recorded a -2.7% price fall, the 16th consecutive month of negative growth in the capital. The good news though, is that buyer and seller expectations seem to be becoming more aligned, particularly in areas where prices have been falling for some time now.
Given the increased probability of a No Deal Brexit and the impact this may have on the wider economy, it’s not surprising that the housing market is slowing. Add to this Boris Johnson’s announcement of a potential cut in stamp duty rates and you can see why some buyers might choose to delay moving home just now.
However, our data suggests the opposite, with 5.1% more applicants registering this year compared to last. But with fewer homes available to buy, more movers are having to rent in the meantime. Increasing demand for rental homes combined with lower stock levels means that rents are rising 3.5% on average in the South, with homes letting faster than ever before.
Mary Beeton, Head of London Sales at Hamptons International comments: “In recent years the London housing market has been dictated by people only really moving when they need to, rather than when they want to. Affordability, confidence and moving costs have all played their part. But prices at the top end of the market have been falling for some time now, which means that for the savvy buyer London is looking good value for money. A fact not lost on international buyers for whom benefits from currency movements have outweighed political uncertainty. And after a long absence investors too are gradually returning to the London market. All of this is leading to more sales and fewer fall-throughs - 17% fewer than last year and the lowest level I’ve seen in many years.”
With the October Brexit deadline approaching, it is far from clear what will happen. But what is clear is that although the market will remain fragile, there are still opportunities out there for both buyers and sellers.