The Year So Far...
Published: 28/08/2019 By Patrick Henry
When we came back from the Christmas/New Year break at the beginning of this year, I had prepared myself for more of the same. More properties struggling to sell, more hesitant buyers, more Brexit jitters and generally speaking, more negativity in the sales market.
I couldn't have been more off the mark. Within the first three months of the year we had agreed as many sales as we did in the last six months of the previous year. Now, as much as I would love to report that our eye-catching and persuasive, Christmas marketing campaign had done its job. In reality, I believe that sentiment had changed in the market, and for the first time in a long time, those sentiments were positive. The question for me was "what had changed?" and as is the case with most markets, there were many factors at play.
Vendors that had thoughts of upsizing were starting to see how the gap had shrunk between the price of their current property and their new desired home. This led to a relatively large amount of high-quality flats coming onto the market. For the previous two years we had seen a large number of rented properties come to the market due to existing Landlords fears of Brexit and changes in taxation laws. As a general rule, rental properties tend to be of a lower quality than those that are owner-occupied. Obviously the increased availability of high-quality properties causes an acceleration in buyer activity. Some other factors are a little less convincing, for example, "Brexit fatigue". You are probably as surprised about me using that term as I am, but I have heard people refer to it on a number of occasions since the beginning of the year. It is possible that after two and a half years of Brexit negotiations, a portion of buyers in the market had become bored and frustrated of waiting for a deal to be struck between the U.K. and the E.U. This – in theory at least – could cause that section potential buyers to become more proactive which in return could spike activity in an otherwise quiet market.
Clearly there is a fair amount of speculation with the "Brexit fatigue" argument, but I think it is fair to say that it wouldn't have taken much energy to breath new life into what as a near rigor mortis sales market.