Okay, we extended that title for a reason. Firstly, we would like to wish all our readers a very happy 2019, we hope it’s a prosperous one for you and us and we hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too.
Now, down to business. We’ve written this blog with all our clients in mind; house sellers, house buyers, landlords and tenants, because there is one subject uniting us all at present and overshadowing the New Year with doubt; Brexit. To avoid talking about it wouldn’t be acknowledging the elephant in the room; talking about it is merely speculation, but whether you are engaged or not with the Brexit debate it is unavoidable, and it is affecting the UK’s property market. With that in mind, here’s our lowdown to how the Gloucester (and surrounding areas) property market is shaping up right now in 2019 and what the experts are predicting for the coming year…
The only thing certain in the property market when it comes to Brexit is uncertainty. Not very helpful if you are thinking of moving, we know, but until some fundamental decisions are made by parliament in relation to Brexit, it is very hard to predict what will happen in the property market. If a deal cannot be reached and the UK leaves the EU under what has been termed by the media as a ‘hard’ Brexit, up until now, this has been deemed by the media to be detrimental to the property market with a slump in house prices. Of course, with everything in life, it’s all about perspective. A drop in house prices isn’t great for those already on the property ladder, not wishing to be in negative equity, but would certainly help all those first time buyers saving hard to get on the market, which, in turn, would increase demand again. It is a situation we will return to in the next few weeks, we are sure, and although we sound ambiguous ourselves, please do read on for our more positive appraisal of the Gloucester property market.
What the experts say
Over Christmas, the Telegraph* provided their own predictions regarding house prices in 2019. They cited The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), who last year predicted that house prices would “grind to a halt” in 2018 due to a toxic cocktail of low levels of sales and homes on the market as well as cautious buyers. But, as the Telegraph points out, whilst house price growth has certainly slowed, it is still climbing with latest figures from Halifax showing that house prices grew at an annual rate of 0.3% in November and that throughout the year, growth has remained within the 0.3% range. In addition to this, the Office for National Statistics** have reported that house prices increased by 3.5% in the year to September. Conversely, Rightmove** have reported that average asking prices fell by 0.2% in the year to November, but what can be gleaned from, is that perhaps sellers are becoming realistic about what their house is actually worth. Halifax Bank** concur with Rics that annual house price growth rose by 0.3% in the year to November which goes a long way towards confirming that, although growth may be small, the property market has remained stable in 2018, even in the face of the uncertainty over Brexit.
First Time Buyers
Cometh the hour, cometh the first time buyer; this is your time. There’s no stamp duty on the first £300,000 of your purchase and with Help to Buy offers and some low mortgage rates being offered on long-term deals, now might just be the time for you to negotiate a good deal for you.
Brexit may be making you, the investment buyer, concerned about investing right now but where there is uncertainty over Brexit, there is certainty from the Chartered Industry Surveyors** that rents will increase by 2% in the next year. Essentially, in the lettings market, demand is outstripping supply, meaning rents are predicted to keep on rising for the foreseeable future, irrespective of Brexit. While it is true that none of us know what will happen in post-Brexit Britain, historically ‘bricks and mortar’ have been a sound, long-term investment. We will blog in the coming months about where the best yields are to be found in and around Gloucester.
If it’s good news for landlords, conversely, of course, it’s not going to be such great news for tenants. Higher tenant demands means more competition for the same property and increased rental prices. This doesn’t mean that you should lose out on what you are looking for. Being organised over searches, viewings and references will stand you in good stead to beat your competition and in the coming months we’ll provide you with more information on how to do this.
The Gloucester Market
Brexit aside, the Gloucester market remains buoyant. According to Rightmove*** Gloucester house prices have increased by 4% in the past year and are up 16% since 2015. The average price paid is generally 1% less than the average price marketed which means that properties are being accurately marketed. This continued growth in the past four years can certainly be attributed to the investment Gloucester City Council have made into the city, including the development of the Quays, the new bus station, and the expansion of Gloucester Business Park, bringing a number of logistical and service-based employers into the area. Equally, the increase in employment together with the continuing development of the University of Gloucestershire and Hartpury College are bringing more and more renters to the city, increasing demand for rental properties.
The jewel in the crown; The Forest of Dean
We couldn’t sign off without discussing the thing we’ve been banging on about all year; those tolls have gone, it’s now free to cross the M4 and M48 both ways! And with that freedom are coming the commuters. The Forest of Dean is looking more and more appealing to commuters from Bristol, Gloucester and Cheltenham all wanting to raise a family in a rural idyll or have outdoor pursuits right on their doorstep at the weekends. In the past twelve months, house prices in Mitcheldean**** have risen by a whopping 12%, that’s 40% more than the UK average. Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, no Brexit, if you want to invest in property at the moment, the Forest of Dean is the place to buy. Somewhere, we will return to in the coming months.
Finally, whether you are buying, selling, letting or renting, here at Sure Sales & Lettings we are here, hoping to help you. Whether you are apprehensive or excited about what Brexit might mean for you, we are there to assist you. Contact us on 01452 310999, email us at email@example.com or call into our offices in Worcester Street, Gloucester, to discuss your needs further.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Jemma, Rob & Tom
Sure Sales & Lettings