Gavin West from WEST-The Property Consultancy responds to the positive start to the new property year and looks at the green shoots of improvement.
Like early snowdrops, property buyers have begun poking their heads above ground after a long period of slumber. In fact, in some parts of the UK, there are significant and spectacular drifts of these ‘snowdrops’ appearing. Is this because of the time of year? Partly: but more likely because we are emerging from an extended and dark period of lifelessness in the property market.
Call it the ‘Boris’ or ‘Brexit Bounce’ if you like, but whatever term you give it there is a definite uptick in the market with rising interest and activity. All over the country, numbers of buyer registrations, viewings, offers and sales are up on the previous three years, albeit current hot spots range through the Midlands and into the northern counties. The higher priced South East and London are too showing early signs of the clouds of the past 3 years being lifted, so the expectation is that by the close of Q1 we will see an uplift in property volumes being traded. My personal view is that the key trigger will come if increased numbers of properties are listed this Spring, as distinct from the paucity of supply experienced in recent years, for this will demonstrate to prospective buyers that there is choice and by dint of this, that there is a renewed energy in the market.
Confidence should be the name given to the first physical brick laid in any house construction or metaphorical brick laid in the re-building of the property market. It is confidence that is driving this newfound interest, and it comes at a perfect time of the year as we head towards the Spring. Humans naturally tend to err on the side of the positive as the season changes and there is little now to deter buyers, as long as stock levels rise to inspire those who have in recent years opted to take a ‘decision holiday’
There was concern that a December election would be harmful in multiple ways. Well, in the case of the property market, it was perfect. With the will-we/won’t-we Brexit issue settled a large cloud of uncertainty was lifted, albeit we are bound to get 24 hour rolling news featuring a blow by blow account of the negotiations with the EU in relation to our joint trade agreement, the positivity or negativity of which will play out as the year progresses and we’ll have to see how this impacts property market sentiment should the going get tough.
Behind the increased energy we are starting to experience now, are several years of pent up demand. Those who could wait to make a move or who were nervous did wait. But now the waiting is potentially over, in all sectors of the market and across all regions, demand at least is certainly at a higher level than has been recorded since 2016.
The portent could be exciting for the property market, but we should not get too carried away. Property market confidence can soon give way to over-confidence, with sellers often eager to set higher asking prices. We don’t want to see all those snowdrops droop under an ill-considered layer of expectation.
Prudence and guidance are critical factors in sustaining this more positive start to 2020. As always, before embarking on selling and or buying a property, we advise seeking the wisdom and counsel of a mature and experienced local independent estate agent before you join the fray. We’d love to help and advise you – so do please call us now on 01865-510000 or visit www.west-tpc.co.uk.
Gavin West FNAEA MARLA
WEST-The Property Consultancy