Many estate agents, mortgage lenders and even the Bank of England have all been warning in recent months that the ongoing Brexit fiasco is having a damaging effect on house prices.
Our bricks-and-mortar may be worth trillions on paper, but what is the reality? How are buyers and sellers being affected as the government struggles to make a success out of leaving the EU?
Time to look outside the political situation and explore how the UK is being affected. Here’s an examination of Brexit and house prices.
Property prices after Brexit
What do the main house price indexes reveal?
Is Brexit beginning to chip away at the value of our homes? Or, is the housing market more resilient than that?
A halt in January
The general picture is that London has experienced a significant slowdown at the beginning of the year, a trend that’s been developing as Brexit has loomed and Article 50 was triggered.
This, coupled with the higher costs of moving created by the previous government’s stamp duty changes, have persuaded many people in the capital to ‘wait and see’ what happens after Brexit. This is the chosen course of action, rather than moving home before the UK leaves the EU.
The impact of Brexit uncertainty
The result of buyer uncertainty? A stagnation of the property market.
Many of the home counties depend to a certain extent on Londoners arriving with cash to spend on a larger home ‘in the country’ (and increasingly even further as they seek out less expensive homes) and therefore the capital’s transaction and house prices slowdown is spreading outwards.
Brexit housing market: is everywhere affected?
Outside the bubble of London and the South East, the property market has been less exposed to Brexit worries.
In the South West, Midlands and the North East and North West of England, the market has continued regardless of the political carnage in London with transactions and house prices largely holding up.
But, as Phil Spencer has often counselled, while a house price index (HPI) can be a useful indicator of the direction of travel, local housing markets react to local demand and conditions more intensely than they do to national ups and downs.
Nevertheless, here’s what the latest mortgage lenders and Land Registry HPIs are saying.
Its HPI is biased towards areas outside the capital and its home counties. It reflects the buoyant property market conditions in its Midlands and Northern customers strongholds.
The Halifax house price index says that so far this year its data shows that house prices look set to rise by 2.8% overall and jumped by nearly 6% month-on-month during February to an average of £236,800.
In summary: the property market is booming outside London.
Nationwide is the second largest lender in the UK after Halifax but tends to service more affluent borrowers buying middle and upper-market homes.
These property markets have been hit harder by Brexit worries, and therefore Nationwide’s HPI says prices are set to rise by just 0.4% this year, and dropped by 0.1% during February to an average of £211,304.
In summary: Overall the property market is clinging on despite Brexit.
The Land Registry
This HPI is the UK’s most reliable because it records the final agreed sold house prices of all homes bought and sold in the UK.
However, it’s slightly behind the curve, as the information it publishes is usually two or three months old. But, Brexit has been in motion for a long time now, so this index should be a good indicator.
Its most recent report is somewhere between the Nationwide and Halifax indices. The average UK house prices is set to rise by 1.7% this year, but dropped by 0.8% in January.
It shows that growth of sold house prices is slowing, and that regions outside London are performing best. If you ignore the capital, then many places such as Wales (+4.6%) and the East Midlands (+4.4%) are still enjoying significant annual rises. But for how much longer?
In summary: A few storm clouds are gathering.
Will house prices drop after Brexit?
It’s impossible to know for sure what will happen and predict the outcome. However, particularly in London, it looks as if this is already happening.
Advice in the face of housing market prices
Despite all the bad news, buyers are encouraged not to panic. There is some advice that can help you along the way.
Consider the area itself
Not all parts of the UK have been impacted as negatively as the press would have you believe. Where are you hoping to move to?
It’s advisable to look at local housing markets rather than national.
Consider your long term plan
Many people are tempted to wait it out, however there’s no guarantee things will get better any time soon.
If you’re looking to buy somewhere to live for the long-term, it might not necessarily be the best idea to wait for an outcome that may never come.
Speak to a mortgage adviser
If you’re buying a house in this current climate, the right advice is key. You’re advised not to make any rash decisions, but to ensure you’re on the best deal for you.
Don’t just jump into a fixed rate mortgage without thinking it through, as interest rates could change dramatically. Ensure you’ve weighed up your options properly.
Need to talk things through? We can connect you with experienced professionals who provide mortgage quotes for free. Get yours below.