In recent months, the property market in London has been slowing and now this trend is spreading to the wider South East region of the UK. Interestingly, areas seeing the greatest slowdowns in terms of price growth are those which have seen the highest growth in previous years. A shift has occurred however, with previously lower value, affordable homes seeing the most growth over recent months.
This all neatly ties in with the slowdown in property sales and purchases and hence, the reduction in market demand has seen prices fall in response. However, whilst prices in the wider South of England are following the London trend of slower value increases, property website Zoopla are predicting that the price falls only be ‘modest’ rather than anything too substantial.
Sales volumes are also set to increase for the South and South East, something very much needed with sales volumes falling by around 10% since 2015.
Commuter areas, close to London, such as Maidenhead, Woking, Epsom and others, having experienced continued price growth are now seeing annual house price falls of between 2.5% and 1.5%. Positively though, average prices in the South of England have still shown price increases of around 0.6% compared to last year, with average prices currently at around £323,910.
Over the last year, the picture in the South West of England, in areas including Bath and part of the Cotswolds, is also slow yet positive, with price growth at between 0.3% and 0.7%. However, as with London and other parts of the South East, deemed to be affordable and in commuter areas, similar areas in the South West such as Taunton and Gloucester have seen rises in property values and prices of between 3% and 5%, significantly greater than other areas.
What Does This Mean for the Housing Market?
The UK housing market is proving to be incredibly resilient and is changing. However, with prices slowing, more people are becoming able to afford homes in a way not seen for quite some time. This is also helping some investment landlords to purchase properties, with demand in the market meaning that those still looking to buy property, can bag a bargain.
Hence, there is also an increase in properties on the rental market and therefore a need for property management and property managers (source Arthur Online Property Management Software), with the increases in properties let to tenants needing oversight and proper management.
With the current Brexit-related uncertainly, and the UK’s future arrangements still being thrashed out by politicians and bureaucrats across the Continent, there is little sign that the market will show any major shifts just yet.
However, for those looking to buy, if everything is prepared, now may be one of the best times to do so; in January of this year alone, the number of homes sold in the UK fell to its lowest level in a decade. This distinct and unique lack of market demand allows prospective buyers to yield rather more influence over the market than during times of normality and certainty, providing near ideal circumstances for those looking to buy for both living and investments.
This effect on the residential market has not however been seen in the retail market, with retailers and businesses having to deal with different sets of issues including business rates, corporation tax and the changing UK high street (source: Bobblehat). For both those looking to rent as well as anyone looking to buy, now, if everything falls into place, may be one of the best times to do.