I Am The Blog

The latest property news from your online estate agent.

I Am The Agent Property Market Update

Welcome to a new series of property market updates brought to you by I Am The Agent the online property service for landlords, vendors and developers.

Let’s kick off with Brexit – if you believe the press, it really is all doom and gloom on the estate agency front, but, in reality, according to the Rightmove House Price Index Report, driven by the land Registry data, it isn’t all bad. We have been in the online property business for just over 10 years and have always been faced with seasonal challenges - Christmas tends to be slow and children’s holidays are equally quiet. Given this, house prices always drop off slightly, with or without the looming Brexit.  

 So, let’s talk figures…

The average London house price has dropped below £600,000 (to £593,972). The price of properties coming onto the market has fallen by an average of 1.5%, circa £9,000 per month. This price fall is the lowest since August 2015, and well below their peak of nearly £650,000 in May 2016. Not great for property owners in the London area, however, on the plus side, the average London property does now fall within the ‘help-to-buy' bracket of £600,000, meaning more buyers knocking at your door before this incentive gets phased out. 

 The biggest annual changes in London local areas are set out below:  
























According to Rightmove, there has been a slow start to the property market in 2019, with the number of new listings down, as political and price pressures combine to deter owners from coming to market. The first two weeks showed a fall of 10.0% on the same period in 2018, but I Am The Agent have seen a 7.6% increase in lettings and a 0.7% increase in sales. 

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year and nearing 11,000 listings as a group, perhaps this growth indicates that vendors are looking for savings on marketing their properties to make up for any loss in the market value, a saving that is easily achievable when using an online or hybrid estate agent.  

In addition, the average time for selling, according to Rightmove, is 82 days as reported in Dec 2018, which is only a 4 day drop from last year. However, here at IATA we are beating the average market ‘under offer’ by 13 days, with 59 days being our average for the private seller. 

Another frustrating development for the market, was the increase in stamp duty back in 2016, affecting both buyers and landlords. The rules on stamp duty have changed no less than 14 times since 1995, with the majority of the changes resulting in increased duties for those purchasing the properties at the top value bands of the market. Since the higher rate bands were introduced in 1997, the top rate of stamp duty has increased from 2pc to 12pc. 

Our company has developed an overview of stamp duty changes which is presented at the end of this update. It’s a fascinating read and no doubt there will be some discount in this year’s budget to assist the market in combating the negative effects of Brexit. Watch this space! 

According to the chart below, we can see that, despite the initial spike of purchases before the announcement of Brexit, transactions have remained rather steady. 

Aside from sub £125,000 properties, stamp duty has increased for all property price bands, and the gulf between the top of the market and the rest has grown exponentially. 

An alternative way of looking at things, is that the selection of properties available, is substantially lower than normal, so this is probably a great time to market your property. As the stocks are low, it is easier to make your property stand out against the competition and this should result in a quicker sale. 

Mr Prior an RICS buying expert says:  

'There are only two types of 'expert' when it comes to predicting house prices - those who don't know and those who don't know they don't know. 

'If you are lucky enough to be able to buy a roof to put over your head then if you can afford it and think you are likely to be able to continue to afford it then don't put your life on hold, go ahead. In years to come it will still be worth one house.  

 Here at the IATA group, we think that if you can afford it, and you have time on your side to weather the storm and get through to the point where the market turns, it is a great time to take advantage of the low interest rates, which are still at historical lows! If time or earnings aren’t on your side, probably best to hold fire.  

 Now...more positives:  

 There are more ways to get on that ladder than EVER! Helped by the Government's Help-to-Buy schemes, first-time buyers look set to overtake existing homeowners as the largest group of home buyers in 2019. 

The current boost in demand for housing in regional cities, where the job market is strong, and houses more affordable, has been a bit of a slap in the face for the property market in the South East. 

First-time buyers can still step onto the property ladder with as little as a 5% deposit, if they use the Help-to-Buy Scheme, or can get up to 20% using the Equity Loan scheme. We have just partnered with the largest ‘no fee’ broker L&C to give our clients live access to mortgages as part of our online process, bringing it all together in one of the most technically advanced systems on the market. Give it a whirl and see how much you could save for switching, or test the buy-to-let market to see what you could earn on an interest only basis.  Lloyds Bank have also just announced a 100% mortgage, backed by parents, as a guarantor to cover the deposit. Another new opportunity!  

 For more guidance please search: https://www.iamtheagent.com/mortgages/               

 It's a less rosy picture for transactions in London, where the slowdown in price growth has been accompanied by a double-digit slowdown in sales volumes. However, this has been offset by regional cities experiencing an increase in the number of sales. 

 With recent official data showing earnings growth averaging 2.5%, this means that, unusually, wages are currently outpacing house prices, which is another positive for affordability. 

 And finally... 

Savills have inherited a crystal ball and they’ve predicted that house prices in Britain will rise 14.8 per cent from 2019 to 2023, with some significant regional variations. For example, London is only forecast to see a 4.5 per cent rise. 

According to data released by HomeTrack, the price drops across the capital are "a result of tax changes impacting overseas and uncertainty surrounding Brexit." Recent tax changes have killed both overseas and domestic investor interest in London property. Add to this the increasing political turmoil and the ongoing Brexit nightmare and you have the makings of the gloomy state of the capital's property market. 

We will watch this space! For any feedback you would like on the market or for an up-to-date appraisal, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0333 444 1007.

Best Regards,


Rebecca Peach