Brexit is a worry to everyone, for many reasons, with housing market uncertainty only one of them. But while Brexit is still an unknown quantity, there are patterns of behaviour for how the property market typically behaves in times of uncertainty, which makes a prognosis for house prices in 2019 (and beyond) possible.
So, if you're considering buying or selling in 2019, read on.
What will UK house prices do in 2019?
Kate Faulkner, a leading UK property expert and commentator, explains how we can look into the future of UK house prices, 'We do have some experience with regards to how a rise in uncertainty affects the market and it’s this worry about the unknown that is expected to impact on prices and the number of sales/purchases.'
Kate suggests that it's worth reviewing what happened in 2018 in order to make a more reliable prediction for 2019. For one, the slow property price growth in 2018 was down to the government's restrictions on how much people could borrow, which 'has put a ''cap'' on what people can afford'.
So, sluggish price growth in areas such as London, the East and the South East has not all been down to Brexit. This trend is likely to continue for the next five years, with prices 'lower than what people will be used to,' says Kate. For instance, while house prices in London have grown by a staggering 62 per cent since 2007, they are predicted to grow by a comparatively modest 15 per cent over the next five years.
Looking further afield, areas like Birmingham and the West Midlands, Manchester and the North West, Leeds and Yorkshire, and Humber are expected to rise in 2019 and beyond. Kate comments, 'This is because prices in these areas haven’t increased at the same rate as those down South, and although it’s never easy to afford a home, property prices in Yorkshire and Humber and the North West, on average, have only increased by eight to nine per cent over the last decade, while the West Midlands has performed better, but still only seen growth of 18 per cent.'
In a sense, then, the North and, to an extent, the Midlands, are likely to benefit from a steadier but slower house price growth over a longer period, rather than the boom-and-snail's pace property market in London and the South East. This is particularly important to people who bought their current property partly as an investment for a future, larger home; their hopes of moving up the property ladder are less likely to be dashed in areas with less dramatic price increases.
Why you should take note of house price micro-climates
That said, however, average predictions are still to be approached with caution, since the property price micro-climates will behave differently depending on
the current supply and demand of where you live.
'Even in areas where prices are predicted to fall, some properties that are in short supply will still rise, and in areas where prices are predicted to rise, some properties may fall if there are a glut of them for sale versus the number of buyers', says Kate.
Should you buy or sell a home in 2019?
So, what should you do in 2019, whether you are a buyer or a seller? Well, the answer should very much depend on your life circumstances, more so than price predictions. Ready to sell but worried about price falls? Talk to your bank or financial advisor. Desperately want your own home and don't want to wait much longer? You might as well go for it and buy.
Kate offers a refreshing dose of common sense, 'If you own your property outright or have a small mortgage, worry more about securing the property you want to live in for the long term, as over time prices will always rise and fall. If you are buying for the first time, talk to mortgage experts about protecting yourself from price falls, but if you are fed up of renting or living with mum and dad or friends, then now might be the right time for you as you may even secure a bargain.
'Remember, whatever happens to property prices, you still need to pay to put a roof over your head, so compare the options and talk to experts to ensure you are never forced to sell if prices do fall.'