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Should first time buyers wait and see post Brexit?

Posted: 21st July 2016

Category: General

Some newspapers are suggesting there could be a softening of property prices and are encouraging buyers to wait and see, but is this a wise approach for you to take?  We explore the arguments to help you separate facts from speculation.

The first question has to be who are the homeowners who would sell for less now than they would have done before, to provide a supply of cheaper homes?  Certainly not people who have worked hard to acquire their primary asset as even when the economy is under great pressure sellers tend to wait for their price.  This was clearly demonstrated after the world financial crisis of 2008/9 but of course leaving the EU is a very different scenario and there are early indications that the economy remains sound. 

Developers of new homes could be in a different position as they chase turnover.  However there is a shortage of property being built and the incentives and types being offered may be unmatched in the wider residential market which historically keeps sector demand strong.  "Prime London" areas are rarely a good barometer for the whole market as much of this demand is fuelled by speculators, but many headlines are based on this unique marketplace.  Following huge gains in recent years it would be unsurprising if demand reduced somewhat, but on the flip-side the lower value of Sterling may yet encourage fresh investment from overseas.

There has also been talk of investors selling "en-masse" as changes to taxation take effect by 2020.  However our conversations with multiple Landlords suggest this will  not be the case as whilst the moves are unpopular, rents in the Harrow area continue to rise and most investors are not so highly geared as to lose money.  They also expect capital appreciation in the long term and a yearly return that generally exceeds 4% still outstrips most other asset classes.        

Lastly there is the old chestnut of re-possessed property being sold cheaply but in Harrow and Harrow on the Hill this is an urban myth.  Very few homeowners are re-possessed here, but more importantly lenders have a duty to achieve the highest possible price which makes hunting for such properties a fruitless task.

It is presently hard to see strong reasons for downward pressure on house prices in the Harrow area.  Interest rates are extremely low and forecast to remain so, employment is strong, the supply of homes is poor and banks are keen to lend.  In our real world experience we find that homeowners will not reduce prices on the back of speculation, and with a new Prime Minister now in place the uncertainty being peddled seems to be passing already. 

So perhaps whilst others hesitate the coming months could prove a good time to put your moving plans in to action.