We pride ourselves at Manors Estate Agent, Marylebone, on keeping our finger on the pulse of the property market and the latest survey from Zoopla makes for some fascinating reading. They have just conducted an exhaustive survey to find out how we’re feeling about the direction of the housing market amidst ongoing Brexit uncertainty.
The good news is that we are feeling a lot more positive than you might expect – 81% of respondents are expecting prices to rise in their area and not by a little, they’re expecting them to rise by around 4.8% (annually).
As you’d expect, confidence tends to be higher in areas where sales are currently strongest. Yorkshire and Humber are the most optimistic, with 91% expecting house values to rise, 90.5% in the North West and 90.3% in Scotland. The Scots are also the most bullish when it comes to the size of the rise – 5.5%.
London and the Southeast are both regions that have seen some of the more challenging conditions over the past few years, but the majority still believe there are better times ahead. 67.2% of those in London (including Marylebone) and 73.9% of those in the Southeast are expecting their homes to be worth more in twelve months time. London’s pessimists (32.8%), on the other hand, are anticipating prices to fall by 6.7% and 26.1% of the Southeast are bracing themselves for a fall of 6.1%.
When you look at the latest figures, the growth figures do look a little over optimistic – Zoopla’s Hometrack City Index has current annual growth at 1.7% not 4.8%. However, the figures for Sheffield (Yorkshire and Humber) are far closer. Hometrack shows property is growing at an annual rate of 4.4% against people’s expectation of 4.5%. In Leeds (also Yorkshire and Humber), the current growth figure is 3.5%, just 1% below expectations (4.5%).
There’s no doubt, the property market lives and dies on sentiment and so those confidence figures are, in a lot of ways, even more significant than the actual ones. If we think prices will rise, we’ll happily buy and sell and we’ll also spend money on other big ticket items, such as cars, white goods and holidays because we feel richer.
The high levels of confidence that Zoopla have uncovered are in complete contrast to what many commentators were expecting, myself included. We all believed confidence would be damaged by the ongoing debacle that is Brexit. There is still a way to go, though, before there will be any kind of concrete resolution and sentiment may still dip a little in the short term. However, once there is any kind of resolution over our relationship with Europe, we’re likely to see a bounce in activity as those who had been hesitating plunge into the market.
Laura Howard, spokesperson for Zoopla, said:
“A feeling of stability means buyers are more likely to start actively looking for their next home, confident that now is the right time to make a purchase. And, in turn, an active pool of buyers will encourage sellers to list their homes for sale.
“Measured confidence in the housing market is also more likely to see homes marketed at the right price which, by its nature, generates demand.”