The Prime Minister Teresa May has signed Article 50, starting the two-year process for the UK to withdraw for the EU. After uncertainty in the property market after the Brexit vote in June 2016, what will this new development mean for UK housing? The Guild’s CEO Iain McKenzie shares his thoughts.
What changes do you expect to see with the housing market in the future?
If there is to be a change after Article 50, it may be that the market will become more favourable for buyers. It may change the supply and demand of homes, making some properties longer to sell, giving buyers a greater choice.
Will Article 50 and Brexit have a negative impact on home building?
There is some fear in the industry that the 8% of construction workers who are EU Nationals could set back rates of property building. However, the Government White Paper set out clear plans for increased levels of home building and I am confident that the drive to meet house building targets should negate any downturn leading from this.
Will Article 50 increase confidence in the housing market and encourage people to move?
The market shock of Brexit is now over. All indicators are saying that it is business as usual, even in London. Confidence has already returned to the housing market, and I expect this to be maintained when Teresa May triggers Article 50.
At a recent meeting of The Guild’s National Advisory Committee, 16 of the country’s top independent agents reported that there are already favourable trading conditions in the marketplace. When asked about invoking Article 50, they believed that sentiment and confidence are already high, and this will continue into the future.
Interest rates on mortgages are low at the moment and lending is readily available, which will help more people onto the housing ladder.
How will 2017 compare to the previous year in terms of sales?
Early indications are showing a small increase in year-on-year instructions. It will be hard to compare actual completion levels in 2017 over 2016, as the market saw an increase in transactions in March 2016 with unprecedented levels of buy-to-let completions taking place ahead of the Stamp Duty changes which came into force. However, Guild Members are now reporting increases in instructions and sales.
Is Brexit likely to overshadow the housing crisis over the next two years?
I am concerned that the public and media’s focus on Brexit will lessen the attention given to the housing crisis during the period of leaving the EU. Housing charity Shelter said: “By 2008, the number of new homes being started had fallen to its lowest peacetime level since 1924 – and house building has barely recovered since then. At the moment, we're building around half the amount of homes we need a year. To solve the housing shortage we should be building 250,000 homes a year.”
The government has already started to support first-time buyers with Help To Buy and Shared Ownership. But I would like to see more done to get young people on the housing ladder. For example… Stamp Duty is geared to first-time buyers, which is good as we want to see more people buying their own home.
What advice do you have for people looking to move?
Always seek advice from a trusted independent established agent. Choosing a Guild Member will ensure that you receive honest, transparent advice that you can trust. The Guild has a strict code of conduct for its members, ensuring professionalism. We run two Associate Schemes where Guild agents undergo a rigorous training programme and are tested on their industry knowledge. More than 150 people have become Guild Associates in 2017.
Contact the team in Park Lane for advice and assistance on how to join The Guild (020 7629 4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org).