READING THE MARKET

1 March 2019

Ben Marchbank of Bedfords reflects on a property market affected by Brexit and uncertainty, but showing some clear signs of resilience.

It has been a trying two years since the Brexit referendum. No market likes uncertainty, and the property market is no exception. It is hard to think of an event in recent memory that has fostered so much worry and confusion over such a prolonged period.

However, as we (hopefully) reach the Brexit endgame, we can see some welcome signs of regeneration from opposite ends of the market.
At the lower end, tax changes have significantly affected professional landlords. However, it is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Across the UK many first-time buyers, benefiting from low interest rates, help-to-buy schemes and, frequently, the bank of mum and dad, have filled the vacuum created by those leaving the rental investment market.

Tax changes have also affected the top end of the market. The tax on foreign buyers, especially in London, has had an adverse effect. The capital has seen a dramatic drop in property values over the past three or four years with the knock-on effect that fewer central London sellers have been moving out of the capital for lifestyle reasons.

However, there are now clear signs that London is on the rebound. The fall in the value of the pound and a readjustment in sellers price expectations have brought investors back into the market with force. So London sellers are once again planning their escapes, and they are filtering through to the middle market property sector in areas outside the capital.

It would seem that Brexit is not necessarily deterring active buyers in all sectors, as a great many of them are focused on some great opportunities. We understand this only too well. As a firm, we have always concentrated on the opportunities that economic, legal, personal and social changes bring for clients.
It would be foolhardy to try and forecast how the market will react in the months ahead. We are estate agents, not clairvoyants. However, two things are very certain in the post Brexit epoch, there will be excellent opportunities for both buyers and sellers, and we will be there to steer clients through this period – whatever happens to the market.