Some leading figures have been predicting what 2019 could hold for UK property industry.
The Halifax are forecasting that house prices will grow by between 2% and 4% – better than their predictions for 2018 – by the end of next year, but the uncertainty surrounding Brexit leaves room for manoeuvre.
“This is slightly stronger than 2018, but still fairly subdued by modern comparison,” said Halifax MD Russell Galley. “However, the uncertainty around how Brexit plays out means there are risks to both sides of our forecast.
“Looking ahead, aside from the obvious political and economic uncertainty, the biggest issue for the housing market in 2019 will be the degree to which mortgage payment affordability changes. Average pay growth is likely to gather pace but, with a further interest rate increase also predicted, house prices are unlikely to be pushed significantly in either direction.
“Longer term, the most important issue for the housing market remains addressing the affordability challenge for younger generations through more dynamic housebuilding.”
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) have surveyed their members, and just under half – 43% – expect prices to fall. With a ‘wait and see’ attitude at large, 62% feel that the popularity of renovating rather than moving will remain, but NAEA CEO Mark Hayward sees some opportunities, especially in the first-time buyer market.
“With details of the final deal still unknown, both buyers and sellers will continue to hold off on making any decisions.
“However, this slowdown presents a window of opportunity for first-time buyers who will find more affordable properties, granting them greater bargaining power.”
“We usually see demand spike in the first few months of the year, but the landscape will probably be very different in 2019 as buyers sit on the fence and adopt a ‘wait and see’ strategy until the Brexit deal is complete.”
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) find that 65% of their members expect rents to go up in 2019, and 67% expect taxes affecting landlords will go up. But despite this, ARLA CEO David Cox expects the private rental sector to roll with the punches next year.
“With all the new legislation landlords have faced over the last few years, they have found themselves either being pushed out of the market or forced to pass rising costs on to tenants – a trend which we’ll continue to see next year.
“However, looking further ahead we firmly believe that the industry will come out stronger, more professional and better respected at the other side. The best landlords and agents will adapt and survive to the new circumstances, keeping the PRS afloat.”