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First-time Buyer

Buyers and sellers urged to ‘buckle up for Brexit’ as house prices remain subdued

John Fitzsimons
Written By:
John Fitzsimons

House prices grew by an average of 0.3 per cent in July according to the latest house price index from Nationwide Building Society, up from the 0.1 per cent rise seen last month.

However, on an annual basis price growth dropped from 0.5 per cent to 0.3 per cent.

As a result the average property is now worth £217,663.

Robert Gardner, chief economist at the mutual, noted that annual growth has now sat at less than one per cent for eight straight months, and pointed out that key indicators of consumer confidence remain “subdued”.

He added: “Housing market trends will remain heavily dependent on developments in the broader economy. In the near term, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, though uncertainty is likely to continue to exert a drag on sentiment and activity.”

Buckle up for Brexit

Michael Biemann, chief executive officer of equity release lender, Selina Finance, noted that low supply and “rock-bottom” mortgage rates were helping the property market keep its head above water, but cautioned that the market would remain subdued for the coming months.

He continued: “In the long term, the UK property market will come good, but for now we are entering the biggest unknown for generations and people should buckle up for Brexit accordingly.

“The level of remortgage activity over the past two years shows many have been doing precisely that.”

People don’t want to move

Mark Harris, chief executive of adviser firm, SPF Private Clients, noted that while first-time buyer numbers recovered to the levels seen before the financial crisis, there remains a lack of people willing to move home.

He continued: “Lack of properties on the market is undoubtedly playing a part as sellers wait and see what happens with Brexit before making a decision. The cost of moving is also having an impact, with homeowners remortgaging and releasing cash to improve their homes, rather than shelling out tens of thousands of pounds on stamp duty.”

Like watching paint dry

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive officer of specialist lender, Octane Capital, said the market was stuck in a “protracted limbo”, adding that checking the property portals was akin to “watching paint dry”, with new listings few and far between.

“Mixed signals surrounding the property market is an understatement. The signals emerging from the market at present are less mixed than mad,” he continued.