The London Property Market | what does 2019 have in store?
Most of us can remember the housing crash that hit the UK back in the early 90s which had a devastating impact on the state of the UK property market for over a decade. Unfortunately, this once distant memory has now begun to feel more and more familiar again in recent years. Last year, 2018 saw London house prices drop for the second year running since the 90s crash bringing average house prices in the capital down with it.
2018 saw fewer buyers searching for properties than in previous years, particularly in our big cities, and as a result there were not many ‘For Sale signs’ popping up outside homes. This lead experts to dub the UK housing market in 2018 as “subdued”. When sales were agreed, deals were “taking longer to get over the line,” said chief economist of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), Simon Rubinsohn. In fact, houses were on the market for 102 days on average before being sold (six days longer than in 2017).
According to research by Nationwide, ‘house price growth [has slowed] to just 0.5% in 2018’ this is down from 2.6% in 2017 and annual house price growth has also slowed to its weakest pace since 2013. Last year, In the “outer metropolitan” commuterbelt, we saw even bigger falls than in the heart of London. In towns such as Guildford and Maidenhead, house prices dropped 1.4% to an average of £356,531 in 2018.
So, what’s to blame for the current state of the London Property Market? Many industry experts point the finger towards Brexit and the sea of uncertainty it has left around the country. Buyers are filled with no confidence and sellers are forced to either wait it out or accept much lower asking prices.
What’s the forecast for the 2019 London Property Market?
The first few months of this year are giving a pretty bleak outlook on the London housing market for sellers. Industry experts in London property are forecasting a muted first quarter in the build-up to Brexit at midnight on March 29th. The predictions are expecting homeowners to hold back on putting up those for sale signs in order to attempt to achieve higher prices post-Brexit and post-chaos.
The chief executive of lender Octane Capital, Jonathan Samuels summarised that: “Brexit has smashed property market sentiment to smithereens. Buying and selling property requires confidence, but confidence, as we edge closer to Brexit, is close to zero. For countless prospective buyers, Brexit has put everything on hold.” With this in mind, it is easy to see why the first quarter of 2019 will likely see much of the same stalling as we saw in 2018. Homeowners who bought their homes in more stable times will only be able to sell up for substantial losses on their purchase and most likely will be unwilling to budge for such a loss. This means properties are left without going up for sale and there will be little for many buyers to choose from. For some lucky, opportunistic buyers, it may well turn out to be a buyers market if they can snap up a large discount from someone desperate to sell up.
So, what is the outlook for 2019? Well, with Brexit looming and uncertainty, we predict that there will be more of the same ‘subdued’ buying and selling in the London Property Market – at least for now. We do expect the housing market to begin to move – but at a slow pace. To discuss your housing needs in London, then get in touch with Westcolt surveyors today. Our team here at Westcolt is made up of Valuers and Surveyors boasting over 60 years combined experience, enabling us to provide a bespoke and unrivalled top quality service to every client, no matter how small or large the project scope. We would be happy to talk through any of your concerns in these more uncertain times.