Last week’s article provided a forecast for the London property market in 2017. Nick Leeming, our chairman, now provides his predictions for the rest of the country.
As last week’s article looked ahead to the London property market in 2017, it is only right that we see in the New Year with another predictions piece – this time a wider look at what’s in store for the rest of the country.
I anticipate minimal change next year to the equation that has governed the national property market in 2017: demand will continue to outstrip supply, which will drive up average property prices. House price inflation won’t be as high in 2017 as it has been in recent years, with some buyers and lenders impacted by Brexit, macro-political and economic uncertainty and recent property taxes in the short term. This means that the 2017 property market might turn out to be one that so many have craved in recent years, with more moderate price growth helping affordability.
While there have been a patchwork of commitments from government to increase housing supply over the next Parliamentary period, it will take some time for the results of these actions to come through and so we will not see the true impact in 2017. David Cameron built the least homes of any Prime Minister since 1923 and so it won’t be an overnight fix that turns this trend on its head. The Housing White Paper, which looks set for publication in January, will hopefully provide a blueprint for tackling the UK’s housing crisis.
Turning to our country branches specifically, professionals and families moving out of the city will continue to have a considerable influence in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, which will remain ‘go to’ areas for those seeking respite from the city. This enduring popularity and lack of supply in the region means we anticipate an average price growth of around 5% across 2017. In addition, areas such as Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells will
also continue to attract young families from London. These buyers will choose to be based in the towns, rather than rural areas, in order to have the best access to amenities including schools, shops and transport links. We also anticipate that buyers will favour contemporary country properties, rather than older more traditional homes, with factors of low maintenance and comfort outweighing the charms of a ‘fixer-upper’.
The country homes market will see continued price growth at the lower end, by which I mean properties in the region of £400,000 to £1 million, but there will be a lack of quality homes coming onto the market and certainly not enough to satisfy demand. However, the top end of the market will continue to be held back by prohibitive stamp duty rules. It was a real shame that these weren’t reformed in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. If Philip Hammond had done so, it would have created more fluidity in the property market at all levels.