With the Brexit vote and stamp duty changes, 2016 was a difficult year to predict and 2017 is looking almost as unclear. Could 2017 be the best time to buy or sell a property? Our expert estate agents share their local knowledge of property prices and market activity.
Kingswood, one of the most prestigious location in the Surrey Hills, is constantly changing. Avenues of private roads offering family housing with spacious grounds are now less common, but in we still have them in Kingswood and therefore we continue to serve a family-strong market place.
So far in 2017 we have seen strong sales figures and limited stock. Buyers are registering across all levels; low interest rates are clearly an encouragement but the threat of an interest rate rise appears a concern. In a market where values rise to £5,000,000, we remain cautious and prepared to deal with whatever the market hands us. With rates low, lenders are keen to lend realistic market prices could lead to a much stronger year than some think.
The referendum understandably created un-certainty throughout last year, including in the South East because a large volume of our potential buyers come from the EU. This delayed activity in the middle and upper end of the market, including in the traditionally the busy spring and summer markets. Interestingly, we sold more middle and higher value homes in the last third of the year with a big uplift in demand.
We remain optimistic for 2017 as people continue to need to move whatever the economic circumstances but until there is more clarity with Brexit, there is no real evidence to imagine that there will be a dramatic change to confidence and the market.
The market in Brighton and Hove has been stable in terms of value, buoyed by a good level of first time buyer activity at the lower end of the market that filters through to the top. Uncertainty remains, but movers in our region are still eager to buy. Most are enthusiastic about their home purchase as our city offers such a wonderful lifestyle to accompany the bricks and mortar they are investing in – fantastic state and private education, cosmopolitan mix of people, seaside and countryside, theatre, arts and music, designer shops, bars, and restaurants.
Brexit has not affected the property market here so far. The stamp duty on properties over £1,000,000 is a factor when deciding whether to move, especially if it is a second home due to the 3% additional stamp duty.
There are so many unknowns in the London market at the moment and it is difficult to predict what will happen in 2017 because of the high number of upcoming events both in London and globally. I predict that the exponential growth that property here has enjoyed over the last decade will pause over the next 12 months and fewer people will move. However, clients continue to need to sell and buyers still want to move, and I have never witnessed such a good time to negotiate a good deal where it works for both the seller and buyer.
Recently, increasing numbers of homeowners want to test the waters by discreetly marketing their property for a few weeks. If they have significant interest, they will then add their property to the open market and select an offer after that. It’s a clever way to minimise risk and we are happy to use our network of buyers to secure a great deal for them.
St Neots in Cambridgeshire experienced a very strong end to 2016, with exchanged sales units up by 20% compared to December 2015. Increased sales activity is continuing in 2017. Whilst the impact of Brexit has been negligible, the high levels of Stamp Duty, particularly with properties from £1,500,000 to £2,000,000, is causing buyers to be more cautious.
Modern homes in good condition are currently in highest demand. Buyers are increasingly interested in fast internet connections, which is virtually a pre-requisite now. We are registering larger numbers of buyers who work in London and want the relaxed lifestyle that living in Cambridgeshire offers. London’s Kings Cross is less than an hour away by rail.
The Lakes and North Lancashire region has a high proportion of second homes and this was affected by the changes in stamp duty in March 2016. Overall, we had a good trading year through hard work, good practices and strong brand representation. We also have an influx of people looking for a lifestyle change and raise their children in a beautiful environment, leaving the city life behind.
This year is likely to present challenges due to the global economy and politics, but transactions and prices in the Lake District continue to hold firm. Buyers are now emerging at all levels, and our unrivalled marketing strategy and exemplary local knowledge ensure we can get the best price for our clients.
Overall, 2016 was a healthy year, initially driven by the announcement of increased stamp duty on second purchases that was made the previous autumn. Therefore, we had a rush of local purchases through the spring and this activity carried on into the summer. June’s Brexit vote result lessened demand as the market waited to see what the consequences would be.
The slide in the value of Sterling post-Brexit vote has made London more attractive to foreign buyers and this may sustain a flow of purchasers to the East Midlands in search of better value for money alongside good schools and excellent road and rail communications. In 2017, price growth is likely to be subdued so sensible pricing and good presentation will be key to success.
Yorkshire & the Humber
Yorkshire experienced a positive end to 2016 and a very confident start to 2017 with agreed sales, but are fewer new properties coming to the market. This lack of stock combined with increasing demand is seeing a rise in prices within the region. I think that changes in the government both locally and internationally has created some unease in the property market and this is the main reason that there are not more properties in the region available for sale. Figures show the market has risen by around 6% in the last 2 years and as such we are hopeful for a good year of sales in 2017.
Rugby has experienced a buoyant 2016 with prices increasing by around 6% in the region. The local economy has been bolstered by the continued expansion of Jaguar Land Rover, and the relocation of Wasps Rugby club to Coventry, which has attracted high net-worth buyers in the last 12 months.
After initial uncertainty, we have not had any negative impact on the market place, which is being driven by a lack of stock and buyer demand. The turn of the year has seen a steady rise in buyer numbers.
We are seeing many buyers in their 30s who are using Rugby as a commuter base for Birmingham and London, which is only 50 minutes away by train. The local state and private schools have excellent reputations locally, which attracts out-of-town buyers.
We expect prices to continue to rise over the next 12 months, although at a slower rate than 2016.