Should I Exit Before Brexit?
If there’s one question we get asked more than any other at the moment, it’s “Should I sell my home now or wait until after Brexit?”
Google the words ‘Brexit’ and ‘House Prices’ and you’ll be offered thousands of vastly differing opinions on the subject – guaranteed to leave you more perplexed than before! You would have to have been living in a bubble for the last two years to avoid hearing about the ongoing chaos in Westminster as we try to negotiate our exit from the EU next March, and for many homeowners, a natural concern is what impact Brexit will have on their house prices, and their ability to sell and buy in the near future.
Before we go any further, we should be honest and tell you that we don’t have all the answers, and we simply can’t predict with any certainty how Brexit will impact house prices, since we don’t have access to a crystal ball.
We do know that if there’s one thing the property market loves, it’s confidence. It thrives on certainty and hates insecurity. Sadly, there’s been a great deal of uncertainty over the last two years and this has taken its toll on confidence levels in the housing market. House price growth has slowed, particularly at the top end, with London taking the biggest hit.
However, there are some positive signs of recovery throughout the country. So is it really all doom and gloom, and is Brexit really to blame for an uncertain property market?
As part of their recent annual survey, The Homeowners Alliance asked homeowners who had considered a move but decided not to, what was behind their decision. Only 11% of respondents said their decision to stay where they are was based on Brexit.
Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of The Homeowners Alliance, said of the research, “Our figures show that very few people are putting off making major life decisions such as moving because of what’s happening in parliament, and rightly so.”
A warning earlier this year from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney that Brexit could wipe 35% off house prices has only added to the jitters we were already feeling. However, it’s important to look past the sensational headlines here and remember that Carney was ‘stress testing’ for a worse-case scenario, not making a prediction that house prices will actually fall by this amount. In fact, according to recent figures published by the Office for National Statistics, house prices across the UK continued to grow steadily by an average of 3.1% in the year to July 2018.
A weaker pound can also have a positive effect on the property market, with increased interest from overseas buyers particularly in cities and in our patch of Oxfordshire which continues to attract buyers seeking access to beautiful countryside, great transport links and proximity to some of the country’s best educational establishments. Added to this, owning a home is now more affordable than ever, with record low interest rates and the ability to fix mortgage rates for up to 10 years.
So, if you’re thinking about selling, should you carry on regardless, or wait until the fallout from next year and potentially risk a drop in your house price?
We believe that in these situations, whilst it’s obviously important to keep your eye on the bigger picture, it’s much more useful to think about your own personal situation and the reasons YOU want to move house. And since none of us can predict the future, our best advice is to base your decision to sell or buy on those criteria you can control.
Life goes on, and Brexit or no Brexit, most of us at some point will change our jobs, marry, divorce, have babies, have children, have kids that leave home, want more space, less space, or simply fancy a change of scenery or lifestyle. If for personal or family reasons you know for sure you need to move within the next year, then why wait? If you’re selling in order to buy the house of your dreams or create a new lifestyle, then don’t put off decisions that would make your life better by waiting for an unknown outcome from Westminster.
Brexit may well have no impact whatsoever. Prices have risen steadily over the last 12 months and may continue to do so. Even if prices do fall in the short term, history shows that they tend to bounce back relatively quickly, with the long term trend always being growth.
There are some good practical reasons to list your home for sale during the quieter months too. Whatever the time of year, there are always buyers looking (Rightmove tell us that traffic to their site on Boxing Day is higher than almost any other day in the calendar). Putting your home up for sale now, whilst there are lower stock levels and therefore less competition could be a shrewd move in getting you towards achieving your asking price. Waiting until the traditionally busy time of the Spring when there are more properties on the market means more competition online. When buyers have more choice, they’re more likely to try to negotiate a lower price for your property.
The short answer to the perplexing question of Brexit on the property market is that the right time to sell is always the right time for you. So if you’re planning on moving in the next year for whatever reason, there’s really no good reason not to. There will always be people looking to buy, and well presented, well priced homes will continue to sell.
For more help and advice on the impact of Brexit on buying or selling your property, call us anytime on 01235 751 888 or email us at email@example.com.