Which UK Towns Might be Worst Hit by Brexit

A no-deal Brexit could cause problems for towns in London’s commuter belt and beyond. The more polarised a town’s or city’s property market is, the harder it could be hit after a no-deal Brexit. The great thing is – it’s not all bad news. During the most volatile political times of the last 40 years, let’s delve deeper into the murky world of a no-deal Brexit and what it could mean for some of the country’s most at-risk property markets. 

Property Investment in Stevenage

Downside: There is what you might call “a bit of a gap” in property prices in our beloved Stevenage, with the property gap widening from 68% to 197% in the past five years. The average detached house in Stevenage comes in at around £553,697 compared to £186,422 for a one-bedroom flat.

Upside: There’s massive investment in start-ups and mature businesses happening in Stevenage, making it one of the greatest innovation/investment hubs in the UK. Not only is it close to London but its location near Cambridge also makes it an exciting investment opportunity. If you’ve ever been to Stevenage, you’ll know the greenery and numerous parks are just a part of this town’s charm and one of the reasons it makes it a very attractive buy-to-let opportunity.  

Property Investment in Milton Keynes

Downside: Fiona Baldwin of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office has already urged businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Also known as ‘Brexodus’, EU workers are fleeing Milton Keynes yet local workers are not filling the open positions, which could spell trouble for the local economy. 

Upside: Milton Keynes Businesses have been told to “Keep calm, carry on, and be ready for change”. And that’s what we Brits do. Brutalist architecture (which Milton Keynes has a lot of) has become pretty chic these days with high-rise developments being greatly sought after, which points towards buy-to-let in this area being something well worth considering.

Property Investment in Northampton

Downside: A report from East Northants Council states in the situation of a no-deal Brexit: “The main difficulty is knowing what we are planning for, with little or no direction coming from the Government and its ministries. With this lack of clarity, the council and all relevant agencies in Northamptonshire have considered the possible risks to be: public disorder, workforce shortages, food/fuel/medicine supply chain issues, transport issues.”

Upside: 18.4% of Northampton’s population are in rented accommodation, with that figure to rise over the next 10 years, now seems to be the time to strike if you’re going for a buy-to-let in this large market town that dates back to the Bronze Age. Boasting buildings and facilities such as the Grade II listed Northamptonshire Central Library, Northampton holds its own when it comes to pleasing architecture including the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery plus a thriving café culture.

Property Investment in Luton 

Downside: Carlos Tavares, owner of Vauxhall, based in Luton, warned the BBC of “dramatic consequences” of a no-deal Brexit. Citing free trade as an overriding factor for the plant, employing 1,225 personnel at its Luton plant, a no-deal would be a punch in the gut, affecting both the local economy and endangering employment.

Which UK Towns Might be Worst Hit by Brexit Aspen Woolf

Credit: Flickr

Upside: With a skilled workforce, fantastic infrastructure and lively social scene, it’s not all doom and gloom for Luton. At just 30 miles to the capital, it really has superb access, Luton is one of the most desirable commuter belt locations and ideal for a buy-to-let investment. An accelerated housing development scheme, investment in the airport facilities and increasing leisure investment in the area means the opening of job opportunities for residents which all contribute to the appeal of the town.

Property Investment in Maidstone

Downside: Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s codename for its contingency plan in the face of a no-deal Brexit has predicted congestion in the greater Kent area with lorries facing delays of up to two and a half days. Projected losses for Maidstone in the scenario of a no-deal Brexit could reach £86.5 million.

Upside: Maidstone buy-to-let properties can yield anything from between 2.3% to 7.2% per year, making it a lucrative option for buy-to-let investors. Known as the ‘Business capital of Kent’, Maidstone Borough Council is intent on increasing the borough’s local economy. By 2031 their vision for Maidstone is “A model 21st century county town, a distinctive place, known for its blend of sustainable rural and urban living, dynamic service sector-based economy, excellence in public services, and above all, quality of life”.

Property Investment in Hastings

Downside: When you think of 184.7% from 63.1% over the past 5 years, that’s a fair bit of polarisation. Also, Hastings Council internal Brexit risk document suggests the town may even be flung back to the good ol’ days of rationing depending on the length of any supply shortages.

Upside: Hastings has a bustling culture and arts scene. Hotspots include the Creative Media Centre, The Jeerwood Gallery and a newly renovated University of Brighton in Hastings campus, which makes the town a viable option for attracting young talent. £500m of public funds are currently being invested in East Sussex, being channeled towards the Hastings-Bexhill Link Road, plus a brand-new 50,000 square meter Business Park is also being developed nearby.

Property Investment in Watford

Downside: Instead of moving closer to their place of work, a no-deal Brexit could mean that Watford residents will need to commute longer distances which in turn will increase pollution and also add stress to family life. 

Upside: Over the next 10 years, £1.5Bn is being invested in Watford to improve infrastructure, build new developments and improve leisure facilities. A mainstay of Watford life – the Old Charter Place Shopping Centre has received a £150m cash injection which will include restaurants, shops and a 9-screen IMAX cinema with live performance spaces. It’s clear to see why this would make Watford an ideal buy-to-let investment.

 

In these uncertain times, there are still plenty of opportunities for property investors to take advantage of. With over 14 years’ experience, Aspen Woolf are experts in the area of buy-to-let. With increasing UK rents, now is the time to act and here at Aspen Woolf, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Get in touch today by calling 0203 176 0060 or sending an email to info@aspenwoolf.co.uk.

 

Is Liverpool Oversaturated With Student Accommodation

Liverpool Skyline

Liverpool has been a growing city as recent modernisation projects and new developments have turned an all-ready thriving city into one that has moved into the 21st century.

As one of the most prominent cities in the UK and in a prime location in the north, it has always been on the radar of investors. As the city has grown in population and seen a lack of housing supply, it has been an investors haven, particularly in the residential sector but what about the student accommodation sector?

Is there a demand?

When it comes to top universities, Liverpool is up there as one of the best and that has increased the demand from students to study there. With this demand has come an increase in the construction of purpose-built student accommodation and that also has to compete with the traditional student accommodation.

Analysing the figures might paint a certain picture but perhaps investors should still keep an open mind when it comes to investing in student accommodation in Liverpool. As it currently stands, there are 6,000 student bed spaces being constructed and this will be added to the already increasing number of student properties in the city, and that has left investors feeling slightly hesitant about investing in this sector in the city. This is understandable, especially when reports from the likes of Savills says that the supply of property is surpassing the demand from students. Worrying it might seem, and this might leave investors thinking that the days of high yields and low competition have gone.

Around the city centre, it is clear to see that the student accommodation sector is still thriving. Large developments are punching their way into the skyline with some developments having the ability to house over 1,000 students. There are many smaller developments taking place and over the last three years alone more than 5,800 bed spaces have been created.

Is Liverpool Oversaturated With Student Accommodation Aspen Woolf

Investment Opportunities Remain

Liverpool is already home to Purpose Built Student Accommodation but a large portion of that comes in the form of student accommodation located in the suburbs. Many years ago, students were seeking this kind of accommodation and that saw more and more properties being turned into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in an attempt to soak up the demand. While students used to have a need to live in the suburbs, they have now changed and this has meant that they have a real appetite to live in the centre of the city. Here they can be close to campus as well as the lively atmosphere and wide range of bars and restaurants. As a result, many of the student accommodation properties located on the suburbs are now being altered to accommodate young professionals who are living and working in the area but require more space and peace in the suburbs. This has meant that older student properties are being taken out of the sector, potentially leaving a gap for more centrally located student accommodation to be built.

Another positive is that in recent years, the number of students has increased considerably. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, the number of students increased from 50,000 to 60,000 and that number has grown and will continue to grow. So much so that the universities in Liverpool only provide beds for around 16% of their students and so, that means that the 84% shortfall has to be made up somewhere. This is where opportunities become apparent for investors.

Is Liverpool Oversaturated With Student Accommodation Aspen Woolf

Investors should begin looking at the bigger picture and the way in which student numbers are going to grow. This is a figure that will not only grow as a result of domestic students but also overseas students. More and more foreign students are choosing to come to Liverpool for the high standard of education and with that comes an increase in demand for first-class accommodation. Students from Europe, China and Japan have a different set of needs when it comes to student accommodation and they are often more willing to pay higher prices for better accommodation with more features. Therefore, they often opt for student accommodation that has a lot more space and features such as security, gym’s, communal areas and luxury features that most would associate with accommodation in the residential sector. Along with this, international students require good access to transport links as well as the vast array of bars, restaurant and shops that can be found in the centre of Liverpool. So, in years gone by where they would have opted for an HMO located in the suburbs, they now have a new desire for excellent quality and a great location. This has meant that the outdated student accommodation is being cast aside.

When it comes to investing, investors need to pick their investments wisely and perhaps not focus too much on the figures. The needs of students are changing and with that should come a new approach from investors. Therefore, they should be focusing on accommodation that is within close proximity of excellent amenities, a high standard of quality and finished as well as other services that students can make use of.

Essentially, even though there are many developments springing up throughout Liverpool that are aimed solely at students, there are opportunities. Old landlords who were once the choice of students throughout the city are having to re-purpose their properties because students are no longer valuing lower priced rents. They are now looking for simple access to lectures and a short walk home after a night out and that is why the repurposing of old properties will help to readdress the increase in supply. Once the out-of-city HMOs have been removed from the sector, it will enable investors to make the most of the increase in demand once again. So, not everything is as it might seem and even if the figures are not looking favourable, things are likely to change and with that comes plenty of opportunities to invest.

 

Property Downsizing: Opportunities for Investors

Property downsizing over 65s moving to smaller home

The housing market, over the last decade has been through a huge number of changes. From the financial crisis that put property prices at rock bottom to prices clawing their way back up to where they are now. Along with this, there is a shortage of properties and the demand cannot be met and that has caused investors to shift their focus onto buy-to-let properties.

In amongst all of this, there are those who are looking to downsize. Gone are the days when homeowners would own the same property for their whole life because the over 65s are now taking a financially-driven approach to housing and where they choose to spend the later stages of their life. Simply put, the over 65s are now actively planning for the future and their finances and so, more and more are looking to downsize.

Why are the over 65s downsizing?

As people get older, they become less mobile and less able to maintain a large property while there could be access problems in the future and so, downsizing means that they look to sell their current property and move into a smaller property. The whole idea makes perfect sense. Homeowners over the age of 65, sell their property, they move into a smaller property that is suitable for them as they grow old while releasing equity at the same time.

However, it is not as simple as this because there are now more over-65s looking to downsize than ever before. At one end of the market, you have first-time buyers who cannot get onto the property ladder because of prices and a lack of supply while at the other end of the market you have those looking to downsize yet facing a similar problem – a lack of options.

Property Downsizing: Opportunities for Investors Aspen Woolf

What does this mean for those who are downsizing?

A lack of options and sought after accommodation has meant that the market is saturated, effectively meaning that the supply does not meet the demand of those who want to purchase a property that they can call their home throughout the latter years of their life. As the market has adjusted to this increase in demand, it has meant that property that would be considered desirable to those over 65 has increased in value. Therefore, for those who are releasing equity from their current property, they are reluctant to invest it back into property that has been priced in a way that takes advantage of the demand and lack of supply. So, for those who are looking to downsize, it has meant that they need to consider looking at alternative options which includes rental property and this is where buy to let investment opportunities become a possibility for investors.

When people over the age of 65 make the decision to downsize, they perhaps might feel as though time is not on their side when it comes to waiting for the right property to come along. As time passes by, it could result in them becoming unable to move home with them effectively missing their chance and so, ideally they want to move as soon as possible. In this case, they then find that they have no other option other than to consider rental properties as a serious option.

Opportunities for Investors

There are many properties out there that are suitable for those who are downsizing but make great opportunities for investors who are looking to take advantage of the lack of supply in property on the open market. These buy to let investment opportunities come in the form of purpose-built or converted residential properties, that make it possible for investors to offer rental properties to those looking to downsize. As a result, investors offer a feasible solution while also being able to take advantage of excellent returns at the same time.

Due to the high occupancy rates, it has meant that rental yields of as much as 10% can be achieved in some areas. Investors should focus on those specific areas where there are increased numbers of people who are aged 65 and over. There should also be a focus on areas such as the South as well as many of the popular areas in the North such as Liverpool, Bradford, Leeds and Manchester.

Property Downsizing: Opportunities for Investors Aspen Woolf

Investors have to consider that many of those who are looking to downsize still want to remain close to those areas that they are familiar with, while family will also play a role in the decision that they make. Despite this, this is a growing rental market that is enabling investors to capitalise on an area of the market that specifically appeals to those who are over 65.

Properties that are specifically designed with special features such as lifts, parking, wider doorways and are also located near to main roads and public transport should be a serious consideration for investors. Along with this, the over 65s are even considering facilities such as an on-site chef, spa facilities and social events held on-site because this is something that can provide them with all that they require as they grow older.

When investors find the correct buy-to-let investment that appeals to those who are downsizing, it means that they can expect to see returns that are significantly higher than other areas of the buy-to-let market. These buy to let investment opportunities offer excellent rental yields but also the chance of an increase in equity as the property increases in value. With rental yields of anything between 6-10% as well as yields that are assured for anything up to 3-5 years, it seems as though investors have a clear opportunity to invest in a thriving and growing market that is almost guaranteed to offer them a return, regardless of whether that is in the form of rental yields or equity.

As the number of people choosing to downsize increases, it means that more opportunities will present themselves to investors. This will enable them to take advantage of the residential properties that are currently available that not only cater to the needs of the over 65s but also offer an exceptional return on investment.

 

Property Investment Strategies

buy to let buy to sell property investment strategies

Effectively, there are two simple forms of property investment strategy and these are to purchase a property with the sole aim of selling it on to make a profit, or to purchase a property to rent it out and make an income that way.

However, as simple as that sounds, there is more to it because there are a number of sub-strategies that can be used depending on the investor and their goals. So, what strategies are available?

Buy-to-Let

When purchasing a property to rent, there are two ways to make money and they are to charge rent that covers more than the cost of expenses, or to allow the property to increase in value over time, covering costs and expenses.

Single Lets

This is what many would consider to be your standard buy-to-let as it involves renting out a property to an individual or a family. It is an easy option, and one that requires you to calculate the costs in relation to the rent, ensuring that the rent is in excess of the costs.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

This involves the rooms within a property being rented out individually. This can often generate a large income than if the property was rented out as a single property. It is worth remembering that there are higher costs associated with an HMO such as wear and tear as well as the management aspect, which is also more labour intensive with HMOs.

Student Lets

Student lets are a form of HMO although the student market is very different from that of other markets. It is a more predictable market as students are only there for a certain time of year and the contract will be taken out jointly. If a student leaves, the costs get spread out among the rest of the residents in the home. Knight Frank also predict that 2019 will be a big year for the Purpose Built Student Accommodation sector.

Housing Benefit Tenants

This involves renting a property out to those who have their rent paid for by a local authority. What this means for investors is that they know what to charge and it can sometimes be more than the private rental market. There is the potential for difficult tenants and as the rent is passed to the tenant, it can often not be paid to the landlord.

Property Investment Strategies Aspen Woolf

Holiday Property Lets

This involves renting out a property on a short term basis to people on holiday.  This is a strategy that can return significant yields and profits, especially if you have a property in a sought after, prime location such as a cottage by the sea. This takes an active management approach and there are things such as cleaning the property and maintenance that have to be taken care of.

To learn more, why not have a look at our Buy-To-Let Tips? Or, get in touch with our property investment specialists at Aspen Woolf to discuss adding to or creating your portfolio!

Buy-to-sell

Also known as flipping, this is the purchase of a property where there is no income but instead the property is sold on at a higher price than it was purchased for. This can be a strategy that can yield good returns in a short space of time and they can often be higher than the returns seen with a buy-to-let property. However, one thing to consider is that the property will not generate an income while you own it. Therefore, you are only making money once you sell the property on. The key here is to purchase the property at the right price, and try to ensure that all work remains in budget and doesn’t eat into your margins.

Commercial Property

This is a lot different to residential property as it is a market that behaves independently and is very much reliant on the economy and the success of tenants. While residential property relies on and thrives on demand from people needing somewhere to live, commercial property is different.

A commercial property will only be suitable for certain businesses and that means that once a property becomes vacant, it can remain vacant for some time. Despite this, once you have a tenant, the leases can be put in place for years and they will also be liable for repairing and insuring the property. So, if you have a reliable tenant, then it can mean that you can take a hands-off approach for some time.

Property Investment Strategies Aspen Woolf

Rent-to-Rent

This essentially involves renting a property from a landlord before renting it out to a tenant. It is a form of sub-letting but the aim is to charge a higher rent to the sub-tenant than you are paying your landlord. This is often something that is seen with an HMO strategy. So, you could rent an entire property from a landlord and then rent out each room in the same way as you would in an HMO. This will enable you to generate rent per room which will more than likely bring you in more income than what you are paying to rent the entire property.

You can find landlords who are open to renting properties at a discount, particularly if you can offer some form of guarantee that they will receive an income and no hassle. So, you could then choose to pay the landlord a lower rent as agreed. It is then possible to re-rent the property at the going rate of the market.

Lease Options

In a similar way to rent-to-rent, lease option provides the investor with the chance to purchase the property at a price for a fixed amount of time.

So, an investor would agree to take an option where they can buy the property at a fixed price at any time during the next three years. However, they can then take over the owner’s commitments as well as expenses and rent the property out. So, investors can then earn a rental income on the property while having the option to purchase it at some point in the future for a slightly higher price.

This is one strategy that has been seen in the past where properties were in negative equity and the owners could not sell their property at a value that would cover the remaining mortgage. So, by agreeing a future price, it enables them to forget about the property in the short term. However, this is an option that is very much market dependent.

Best Property Types to Invest In

confused person looking at property types

Finding the best property to invest in is tricky. Of course, you could simply pick something based on the yearly returns you’ll see… But that’s not the be-all-and-end-all of investing in property. That’s what this post is all about: not just what kind of returns you can expect, but what makes a property truly worth investing in.

Let’s start by looking at the best types of property to invest in, and what sets them apart.

HMOs/Houses in Multiple Occupation

According to official UK government guidance an HMO, or a house in multiple occupation, is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. These properties are common around cities like London and Manchester, where there are students and young professionals that need relatively cheap housing near centres of employment/education.

HMOs offer the best yield of any property type. According to research conducted by Platinum Property Partners, HMOs offered a 12.4% gross yield on average between 2010 and 2014. That was far more than the 5% average yield from regular buy-to-lets during the same period.

However, there are two problems you’ll encounter if you invest in an HMO. First, you’ll have to get an HMO licence. Not every HMO needs one, and requirements differ between local councils. HMO licence cost varies too, from between £500 to £1000 or more, and licences can be valid for just one year, or up to five.

Besides that, there’s simply more work involved. With more people in the same living space, there’s more of a chance that your property will be damaged and require expensive repairs. This can significantly cut into your return. And since HMOs are often student accommodation, this adds more problems into the mix: late payments are more likely, and students are less reliable tenants, often moving on with little notice. So while a well-managed HMO offers excellent returns, they require more detailed management.

Best Property Types to Invest In Aspen Woolf

Apartments

Apartments are a good ‘halfway house’ between HMOs and buy to let houses. While your yield isn’t quite as high, apartments typically attract more stable and securely employed tenants. This is great news for a number of reasons:

  • There will be less of a difference between your gross and net yield, since you don’t need a licence, and there’s less chance of missed rent payments
  • Your property is less likely to become damaged, since your tenants are more likely to be young professionals and families who want to keep the property in good condition
  • There are new build apartments hitting the market up and down the country, many of which offer buy to let investors first access
  • Since apartments typically cost less than houses, you won’t be hit with as much capital gains tax if you should choose to cash in on your investment

All that being said, investing in any kind of British land or property has its benefits. The U.K. has a growing population, and the current shortage of new build properties keeps prices inflated. As such, house and land prices will only continue to grow. We offer a mix of apartments, HMOs and houses—we’ve no shortage of buy to let properties for sale.

Where to Invest in Property

Just as important is where you actually choose to invest. The UK housing market as a whole has offered excellent returns for several decades, a trend which is likely to continue into the near and medium term. However, even if the market does dip in certain parts of the country, it’s likely to continue growing at a healthy pace elsewhere. Let’s take a look at the best places in the UK to invest in property!

Buy to Let Investment Manchester

Manchester is England’s second city, and is rapidly growing. Near the city centre and the Media City hub, dozens of new blocks of flats are being built. The majority of these are being marketed for buy to let investors. Why? Because Manchester is seeing upper-single-digit growth figures in property prices. While London and the southeast generally have stagnated somewhat, this has been offset by growth in the north and in Manchester in particular. Not only that, but an influx of people trying to escape London house prices has pushed up prices here significantly.

Best Property Types to Invest In Aspen Woolf
No.1 Trafford Wharf, an investment opportunity in Manchester from Aspen Woolf

Not only that, but the satellite towns around the city—which form Greater Manchester—have seen similar levels of growth. Here, the price of terraced and semi-detached houses has grown far faster than in the southeast. Other northern towns like Leeds and Sheffield have seen similar revivals.

View property investment opportunities in Manchester from Aspen Woolf.

Buy to Let Properties Birmingham

Don’t let anybody from Birmingham hear you call Manchester the U.K.’s second city! Birmingham definitely has a claim to the ‘crown’. For starters, it’s the second most populous city in the U.K., with well over a million people, and about 3 million in the surrounding urban area. This kind of demand for property means that prices grow steadily here.

Not only that, but Birmingham’s population is growing steadily. The city is one of the areas of the U.K. that new immigrants feel most comfortable, which is rocket fuel for local house prices! Investing now, as the population continues to grow, is a smart move.

Buy to Let Properties London

The London property market grew at practically exponential rates over the last few decades. While that growth has slowed down, London remains a fantastic place to invest. As easily the largest financial hub in Europe, and a population centre, it’s highly unlikely that the market will fall from the heights it’s attained.

View available property investment opportunities from Aspen Woolf in London.

But no matter where you choose, the U.K. property market is an excellent choice for investment, with an eye to building wealth. At Aspen Woolf, our award-winning independent advice has been trusted for over a decade—much to our clients’ satisfaction. So contact us online, or talk to one of our experts at +44(0) 203 176 0060 today!

House Prices Continue To Defy Brexit Expectations

House prices brexit eu uk

It doesn’t matter what your political persuasions are – if you’re a homeowner, property investor or thinking about buying for the first time, chances are you’re eager to find out how Brexit will impact on the market. The Monetary Policy Committee recently voted to keep the base rate at 0.75% whilst Brexit-related uncertainty continues.

Key figures

Data recently released by Nationwide said only asking prices in London and the South East have been dropping throughout autumn 2018, with Chief Economist Robert Gardner saying annual growth remained stable in September, at 2%. Even in London, the decline seems to be modest, standing at a mere 0.7% and remaining just 3% below the record high of Q1 2017 and over double 2007 levels. Yorkshire and Humberside was the UK’s best performing region, seeing values increase 5.8% year-on-year. The East Midlands wasn’t far behind, with a rise of 4.8%. Wales and Scotland had increases of 3.3% and 3.1% in Q3, with Northern Ireland reaching 4.3%.

“A fairly steady market”

London estate agent Jeremy Leaf described the figures as “good news”, saying they represented a “fairly steady market”. The figures came as a surprise to many after house prices suffered the biggest fall in six years in August 2018. Stock shortages and low mortgage rates were offering considerable support to the market, with many purchasing properties following their summer holidays.

House Prices Continue To Defy Brexit Expectations Aspen Woolf

House prices since the referendum

House prices growth initially slowed down after the 2016 referendum, with BoE governor saying Brexit could slash a third off prices shortly after. Traditionally, growth has always slowed during the post-summer period, though the drop was greater than normal in 2018. Scotland performed better than the other UK nations during the year following the referendum, and there has been considerable growth on Wales and Northern Ireland during the past two-and-a-half years too.

Have house prices really fallen?

Despite decreasing levels of growth, actual house prices haven’t fallen substantially. Falls in value are being interpreted by some as a merely an inevitable market correction following a boom. The market may also seem healthier if we look at transaction figures. According to Which?, the referendum did not cause a sizeable fall in transaction numbers. There was a considerable rise in transactions in early 2016 due to the new 3% stamp duty surcharge for second-home buyers and buy-to-let investors, which resulted in vast numbers of individuals acting quickly in order to beat the change. Following the inevitable crash, transaction numbers slowly began to rise again.

How long are homes taking to sell?

Figures from HMRC tell us there were more sales in December 2018 than the previous December, with 102,330 houses changing hands compared to 98,760. When experts assess the performance of the property market, they often look at how long properties take to sell and how many homes are on the books of estate agents. Rightmove announced in December that properties were taking 70 days to receive offers compared to 67 the year before, with branches having 46 homes on their books as opposed to 43.

House Prices Continue To Defy Brexit Expectations Aspen Woolf

“Avoid rash decisions”

Which? Mortgage Advisers consulted a series of property experts on how to navigate the property market in the run-up to Brexit. The site’s own David Blake advised buyers to avoid jumping into fixed rates and making rash decisions. He said the market was becoming more favourable to buyers and said he expected prices to stabilise in the future even in the event of a short-term drop. At a time of lower mortgage rates, many buyers may be tempted into leaping into a fixed rate option “without considering the alternatives”. He added that there were several flexible products that wouldn’t remove the opportunity to re-mortgage further down the line should rates start to change.

Is now a good time to buy?

Kate Faulkner of propertychecklists.co.uk said those thinking of making a long-term investment should act now and purchase a property. She said some would-be buyers were hesitant to proceed, hoping prices would fall but claimed supply was also falling at the same time. Faulkner encouraged buyers to act now and “mitigate the risks”, saying the market would correct itself a few years down the line even if there was a temporary drop in value, echoing the advice of Blake. Landlords were reassured that reduced stock levels were likely to result in rent rises, though she did advise landlords to gain a rich understanding of their objectives and whether the investment was likely to be of benefit in the short and long-term.

House Prices Continue To Defy Brexit Expectations Aspen Woolf

When the picture is clearer

NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive Mark Hayward acknowledged concerns over Brexit but said a “flurry of activity” could occur once more certainty was available. The National Landlords Association’s Chris Norris expected long-established portfolio landlords to do particularly well during the coming years in spite of concerns about uncertainty and decreasing demand from those coming to live and work in the UK.

“Certainty of demand”

Executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation Stewart Baseley said the new-build market had “remained strong” over recent months and that he expected this to continue following the extension of the Home to Buy Scheme. The “certainty of demand” was allowing builders to plan ahead and boost their output, with record highs of planning permissions being granted by the authorities. He said the industry required skilled labour from overseas if housing targets were to be achieved.

House prices with and without a deal

Capital Economics property economist Hansen Lu predicted prices would rise by 1% in 2019 if a Brexit deal was agreed. Lu said the UK was likely to avoid a house price crash even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The EY Item Club expected prices to rise by 2% this year in the event of a deal but to fall by 5% if no deal was agreed. Zoopla recently announced that prices were rising by double-digit figures in parts of the North, specifically the cities Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds, with Leicester seeing similar house price rises.