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Property Market 2017: Should You Sell or Stick?

Written by Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
13th January 2017 (Last updated on Friday 19th October 2018)

Following Brexit, there has been uncertainty surrounding the property market and the possible consequences the referendum could have on the economy. The referendum made homeowners reluctant and nervous to sell their properties, which has resulted in even more of a shortage of homes for 2017, while demand continues to grow.

Experts claim it will be an uncertain year ahead for the property market, so if you are currently looking to move house, now might be the best time before Article 50 (the process by which member states withdraw from the European Union) is triggered and the property market is further impacted by uncertainty and worry.

House Prices Increase While Supply Remains Low

Data from the latest Halifax House Price Index figures indicate that at the moment, it's a sellers market as house prices are higher. The figures show an annual house price increase to 6.5% in the three months to December.  House prices in the last three months were also 2.5% higher than in the preceding quarter.

Mortgage approvals are an indicator of completed house sales, and the number of approvals were 6% higher in the three months to November, increasing (0.2%) monthly from October to November.  Therefore, home sales could continue to increase during the next few months.

However, supply remains low with no signs of change, while the figure for unsold stuck was a record low.

If supply is low and you are in no rush to move, this could work in your favour as you are in a stronger position. That said, higher mortgage approvals mean that prospective buyers are in a better position to buy, despite higher prices.

Home Sales have Largely Remained the Same

Although house prices have increased, the total UK home sales in 2016 are generally the same as 2015 and 2014, at 1.2 million.

Since the middle of 2016, sales have stabilised with a 1% increase between October and November. However, sales from September to November were 9% lower than the same time in 2015.

Martin Ellis, the Halifax housing economist said, ‘'House prices finished 2016 strongly'', but ‘'Slower economic growth, pressure on employment and a squeeze on spending power, together with affordability constraints, are expected to reduce housing demand during 2017.

‘'UK house prices should, however, continue to be supported by an ongoing shortage of property for sale, low levels of housebuilding and exceptionally low interest rates.

‘'Overall, annual house price growth nationally is most likely expected to slow to 1-4% by the end of 2017.''

Despite house price growth in November and December, the annual rate remains far below the 10.0% peak of March 2016. That said, the price increase of 1.7% between November and December was the fourth successive monthly rise and biggest since March 2016, at 2.2%.

What If You Want to Move House?

Buying a house and moving is an expensive process, and the rise in house prices will make it even more so.  When it comes to moving house, some things to keep in mind include:

  • Take into account how much it actually costs to buy a house.
  • Research the area you're moving to – what amenities and facilities does it offer you and your family? According to separate research by Halifax, Luton recorded the biggest percentage rise in house prices over the past year. With relatively low property prices and easy commuting distance from London, the average house price in 2016 was at £256,636 - 19.4% higher than the previous year
  • The north/south property divide means prices will differ.
  • Get a number of home removal quotes and find a removal company that is affordable and suitable for your needs.

Overall, the property market is uncertain; house prices have gone up, while supply remains low. However, mortgage approvals have increased, indicating a rise in house sales. If you are considering a house move, now might be the best time before Article 50 is implemented.

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