Market Comment – July 2017

Perceptions-v-reality in property can confuse even the best-informed of armchair economists. The latest House Price Sentiment Index from Knight Frank and HIS Markit suggests that approximately twice as many households believe their property value has risen, than fallen, yet the measure of sentiment is still nearly 15% lower than its previous peak in May 2014.

Despite this positive outlook, according to HouseSimple research, some 35% of all properties currently being advertised for sale in London (and up to 45% in some boroughs) have been reduced in price – an 18% increase in the number of reductions since February. And what happens in London often ripples out across the rest of the UK thereafter.

Indeed, according to Hometrack, average house price growth in UK cities is 58% down on year ago, at 5.1%, although this would be regarded as a good, mostly tax-free, investment in many circles, especially as you can simultaneously live in it. Don’t knock it!

Many surveyors are reporting an increase in bank valuations, but, according to research by Connells, some 33% of this relates to people re-mortgaging as they seek to lock in low interest rates while improving, rather than moving.

Certainly, the higher rates of SDLT introduced in December 2014 have also made their presence felt, with a maximum 15% payable in some instances influencing the decision to move, although most people are not adversely affected by this. (Incidentally, the maximum payable in 1993 was just 1%).

Fortunately, any local fall-out following the Brexit referendum has now appeared to have levelled off and we are enjoying reasonable supply of new instructions coupled with level demand.

So whether you are buying or selling, there are equal and opposite forces in play, neither of which should be regarded as compelling enough to delay a move. As ever, if your life would be enhanced by moving – then move! Life’s too short!

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