Posted by Andy Soloman - 06 February, 2019
The latest Nationwide House Price Index has been released and with it came the first look at UK property market health in 2019.
Unfortunately, it’s back to bed under doctor's orders with price growth all but grinding to a halt on an annual basis at 0.1%, but a 0.3% monthly increase shows that the festive hangover has been shaken off to some degree.
Nationwide's Chief Economist, Robert Gardner, said: “Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but forward-looking indicators had suggested some softening was likely.”
He also attributed the slowdown to a decline in consumer confidence as buyer demand dropped as well as the number of properties entering the market for sale.
Of course, Brexit uncertainty is to blame as otherwise the economic picture is fairly stable. We’ve enjoyed solid employment growth, wage growth has lifted and the cost of borrowing to get on the ladder remains low.
All of which points towards a relatively steady environment for the UK market and once Brexit is behind us, price growth should continue on an upward trend.
In the meantime, it may seem like there is little the nation’s estate agents can do to while both buyer and seller sit tight but this isn’t necessarily the case. Those that charge via the traditional fee structure of paying on completion of a sale are at an advantage and should make the most of this during the quieter months. Those thinking of selling should be encouraged to take the plunge now with the upside that they won’t pay if it doesn’t sell. These agents could also consider a discounted fee in light of competition with online and fixed fee agents, tempting sellers to receive a ‘fuller service’ but at a discount.
Content can also be key and for those with a database of potential buyers sat on the fence, keeping them warm with unique insight while at the same time showcasing available stock, could be enough to tempt them into a purchase.
According to our in-house expert, the short-term may remain muted but stability isn't a million miles away.
“More of a case of the January purples than the January blues for the UK property market and following the seasonal slowdown of the festive season it seems to have lost almost all momentum heading into the New Year.
This stagnation isn’t quite consistent with the wider economic picture but unfortunately for the nation’s homeowners, the Brexit inspired ups and downs that have plagued the market over the last year, seem to have remained as the UK continues in its struggle to leave.
Going forward we should see a fairly muted performance in the short term, but mortgage rates remain low, wages are creeping up and employment growth is strong, and this will bring an air of stability and consistency if nothing else.”
Andy Soloman - Yomdel CEO