Brexit – What does it mean for you and your house?

It doesn’t matter which Estate Agent you speak to they will all say the same thing. The ongoing Brexit negotiations have had a negative impact on the UK property market. More particularly, on the volume of sales within it and the prices achieved. Why does this matter to you? And what should you do about it?

Today we are looking at what has happened in the housing market during Brexit, what we expect to happen soon and what you can still do to make the most of it.

Whether you are a Brexiteer, a Bremainer, indifferent or just don’t care, the Brexit negotiations will have affected your house sale. The number of residential property transactions recorded by HM Land Registry in England and Wales fell 3.2% to 865,913 in the year ending June 2018 (Office of National Statistics). In December 2018 house prices increased by their lowest level since 2013 (2.3%).

The government has “kicked the can down the road” again and again since the UK voted to leave the EU on June 23rd, 2016. The lack of clarity as to how things will be in a month’s time, a year’s time or even 5 years’ time has led to people putting off their home-buying decision. We will see that the number of house sales since June 2018 have dropped even more when ONS releases its next figures.

However, it is surprising that there is such an impact on the number of transactions. Rowan Waller of Wallers Estate Agents says, “Non-urgent sales are often delayed in this sort of market. But remember that life does continue to happen. Sales due to life events such as pregnancy, promotion, relationship breakdowns or homeowners passing away also continue.”

He continues, “the net effect is that in this kind of market there is a greater percentage of serious and motivated sellers. They are selling for a reason rather than on a whim. From a prospective purchaser’s viewpoint there are opportunities to find keenly priced properties. They are priced to ensure those sales happen – because, for those sellers, they can’t not happen.”

If you are up-sizing you will find that a soft market is a good market. The impact on a cheaper house will be less than on a more expensive one. Prospective buyers in Oxfordshire may be beginning to realise this. One way or another they are coming out of the woodwork from their Brexit/winter slumber.

William Kirkland, Knight Frank Oxford head of office, thinks that people are fed up of waiting for the market to pick up. They are beginning to get on with their lives. He comments, “the Oxford property market has been somewhat delayed by Brexit, but with the herald of Spring it is just getting into life.

“Some buyers believe the market may fall in the wake of Brexit. But, ironically, lower stock levels have the habit of firming up prices. We are beginning to see that buyers simply wish to get on with their lives. Being family buyers, they are likely to be in their properties for 5 – 10 years.”

I recall a conversation with an agent the day after the Brexit referendum in June 2016. The market had really slowed down prior to the vote. But even though the outcome wasn’t as expected his office had agreed 7 sales that day. I expect these Brexit negotiations to have a similar outcome.

Whether we leave with no deal, Theresa May’s deal, the deal with a customs union, remain or have a confirmatory “people’s vote”, some certainty will be like a popping cork. We are all fed up of putting our lives on hold and any certainty will encourage people to get on with things, irrespective of the outcome.

What does Brexit mean for you and your house? Brexit has already proved to be an opportunity for savvy buyers. You can still make the most of it. Get your house de-cluttered and do the little jobs to get it ready to sell. Speak to local agents about what it’s worth and just get on with your life. You will probably look back in 10 years’ time and think “what was I waiting for!?”

If you are unsure about where to start you might want to read our post on 5 ways to help sell your house. Or send us a message to info@oxfordpropertyconsulting.co.uk for an informal chat about your circumstances.