Every month when I write this article I do make a conscious effort not to repeat myself and go over old ground. However, I am sure that at some point previously I have urged optimism to avoid negative press becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy – and I think we are there again.
The Brexit vote and the changes in investors’ Stamp Duty were always going to create some unease in the economic climate. Something I read this morning headlined ‘Transactions down across the UK by almost 20% on this time last year’ made my blood run a little cold, so I read on … turns out this is a snapshot for October, it said that transactions were down 3.3% against September and 18.8% against last October.
I do love these attention grabbing headlines, designed purely to provide a bit of drama – as a sentence in isolation it does not tell the story, neither do these figures, and the danger is that if everyone gets on the bandwagon, the next thing we know the property market and the economy will become paralysed as everyone waits to see what’s going to happen.
The property market has always been cyclical, but I think this year’s cycle has been distorted with a lot of transactions being driven through in the first half of the year ahead of the Stamp Duty change. Statistics for the first quarter showed a 15% increase in transactions year on year, but the general feeling is that, with the lag on transactions being updated on Land Registry, it may actually be higher than that, and overall the first half of 2016 outperformed the same period in 2015. It is my view that in terms of house sales, 2016 was front loaded leading to a quieter second half.
The implication of Brexit remains to be seen, and it will still be quite a while before anything even starts to unfold. For the time being the uncertainty of Brexit will be mostly affecting areas where there are more international buyers ie London and the South East; Shropshire is relatively untouched, at least for now.
So as our Jen would say, ‘fill your cup up love’! A bit of positivity and optimism in the property market will go a long way. 2016 has been a bit of a funny year but it hasn’t all been gloomy, the first half of the year was great, the second half a bit tougher but not all bad.
Katie Hatten MNAEA
Sales and Marketing Manager