As a long-established Mortgage Broker, clients often ask me my opinion of what the housing market is doing and what will happen if we do leave the EU. The first part of the question is quite easy to answer ‘It is fairly quiet at the moment which in my opinion makes it an ideal time for First Time Buyers to snap up a bargain’. As I said, that is the easy bit. After ‘Brexit’ in whatever form it may take, I feel that the market may falter for a while whilst we see exactly what effect our departure from the EU will have on our economy and what impact it may have on interest rates. It is during this period that I feel it would be prudent for any first-time buyers seriously looking to benefit from a quiet market to make their move!
With a large number of properties currently available, and very few buyers, those who are in a position to buy have a genuine opportunity to negotiate a really good deal and end up paying far less than had you have waited to see how everything works out.
Looking around various Estate Agents web sites locally, it seems that house prices have pretty much stagnated with many properties having been ‘on the books’ for several months and have a history of reducing prices. For the prudent First Time Buyer this makes for good pickings. A quiet market means far less competition for property where in a buoyant time you may have 3 or 4 people all after the same property, this really is a buyers-market, with many properties to choose from at bargain prices.
But all because an Estate Agent has a property up for sale at say, £200,000, it doesn’t mean that you have to offer £200,000. Do your ground work if you want to make an offer. How long has the property been on the market? If it has been on for at least 4 months check to see if the price has been reduced if so, by how much? If only 5% or so, then the chances are that there may be room to go lower. When you make an offer, I always advise clients to start off at a figure they feel embarrassed at offering. Whilst your initial offer might not be accepted, you have opened the way to strike a deal. At the end of the day, if the vendor can afford to accept a lower offer, he gets a sale, you get a purchase and the only loser to an extent will be the Estate Agent in reduced commission!
If you are reasonably competent with DIY, it is always worth keeping an eye open for probate sales. These occur when a family member has passed away and their Estate is being settled by their executors. In the vast majority of cases, these properties will require a bit of tidying up and updating, but in return for this you get a property with no chain and in what is a quiet market, invariably a vendor that will accept a well below asking price offer.
Of course, not having the benefit of a Crystal Ball, what will happen after the 29th March 2019 is pure speculation. Whatever will be, house prices have pretty much plateaued out now and may potentially fall away a bit before they resume a likely forward march albeit at a probably slower rate of increase than we have seen up to now.