If you’re planning to move home during 2018, now is a useful time to take stock of the housing market and see what the next 12 months might have in store for property prices here in the UK.
What trends can be expected? Will asking prices remain steady or face a sharp increase? These are the kinds of questions we’re looking to discuss in this article.
Rise or fall?
Predicting housing market trends is always tricky, and this year it is arguably more so. With Brexit looming over us, and the fear of ever-rising interest rates, most expert predictions have been tentative and cautious so far.
Looking back at 2017, house prices remained stable throughout the year and there has been talk of this continuing into 2018. Stable house prices won’t be much of an issue for property owners, and thanks to the government’s toughening stance on buy-to-let property owners, the market is actually looking positive for first time buyers.
What the experts say
Perhaps the best example of housing market uncertainty comes from comparing what the experts have said so far this year.
Nationwide and Halifax both predict minor house price growth this year, but a slowing market overall. Nationwide say prices could grow between 1% to 1.5%, while Halifax suggests a slightly broader 0% to 3% rise. Either way, a major change in the market doesn’t seem likely at the moment.
Looking from another angle, property websites Rightmove and Zoopla have also weighed in on the upcoming trends.
According to Rightmove, house prices in January 2018 are on average up by £2000 compared to December 2017. However, sales are down 5.5% compared to one year ago.
This matches up with Zoopla’s analysis that homeowners are having to reduce asking prices in order to attract buyers. However, as inflation continues to grow faster than wages are increasing, a house price increase of 2% to 3% doesn’t seem too far off the mark.
Brexit and regional differences
Brexit can be placed at the heart of much of the political, economic and social uncertainty present throughout the country. For the property market, Brexit seems to be having an all-too-familiar dampening influence. Due to the unpredictability of Brexit as a whole, it stands to reason that house prices will neither increase or decrease substantially either way – that is until things become clearer.
One area of the country that is seeing more immediate change is London. It’s expected that asking prices will fall in London and the South East of England in 2018. This is seen as a reaction to past growth, with lower house prices more of a readjustment rather than a severe drop.
House moves taking longer?
Another interesting point to discuss is the suggestion that the length of the average house move has increased. According to Rightmove, the average length of a move has jumped to 67 days. In summer 2017, the average was 55. Again, this hints towards homeowners potentially having to lower their asking price to avoid a drawn out sales process. Of course, the first quarter of the year is typically the busiest for house sales, so this could change the further we get into 2018.
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