Property search agency Stacks Property has revealed its predictions for the market in 2019, with expectations of a good year to come once Brexit negotiations are sorted.
James Greenwood, owner and managing director of the Gloucester-based company, said: “There are an estimated 6 million households living in the wrong property and the country needs to get moving. Only an end to the indecision that we have been suffering since June ’16 can free up the market. And whatever the outcome, we will certainly see a significant increase in activity.”
He argued that more supply will be matched by more demand and doesn’t expect to see any drastic rise or fall in prices across the board next year.
Properties outside of towns and cities are expected to be given a boost, according to Greenwood. “Rural properties with acres have been struggling in recent years, but we are beginning to see an increase in appetite for property of this kind, and I expect this sector of the market to pick up significantly in 2019,” he said.
He also believes town houses in ‘good market towns’ will continue to be in high demand, with prices for these homes showing steady increases.
“The recent interest rate rise has had little impact on prices or activity levels, and we don’t anticipate any further rises having a great effect on the market,” he continued.
A further interest rate rise – of 0.25% - is expected at some point in 2019, lifting the base rate to 1%. In August the Bank of England raised the base rate from 0.5% to 0.75%, only the second increase in over a decade. While Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said any future rate rises will be ‘gradual’ and ‘limited’, there are concerns that a no deal Brexit could send interest rates soaring.
Under a ‘worst case scenario’ Brexit, the Bank warns that interest rates could increase to 5.5%, but what effect that – or smaller, more incremental rises – will have on property market activity is less clear-cut.
Elsewhere, Greenwood believes more buyers will be prepared to take on significant work to make houses more efficient. He said that ‘2019 will see more eco retro-fitting and future-proofing’, with properties that are inefficient becoming harder to sell as buyers pay more attention to the running and maintenance costs they are taking on.
“Isolated houses at the end of mile long rutted drives will be hard to sell, but competition will be high for immaculate town houses in small cities and market towns,” Greenwood added. “Cottages in tourist areas will be snapped up by investors jumping on the Airbnb bandwagon in anticipation of an increase in UK residents holidaying at home due to falling pound, airport delays, and Brexit fallout.”
Bill Spreckley, a regional director at Stacks Property Search, said the price of the ‘humble bungalow’ will continue its march upwards as it achieves rarity value. “More and more have been knocked down and replaced with four bedroom houses, so those that are left carry a significant premium,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Sally Fraser, a well-known buying agent at Stacks Property Search, advised that ‘well-located individual plots of land, derelict properties and refurbishment projects will be snapped up by idealistic buyers who want to create their own customised space, and add value to their investment.”