As we usher in the New Year, it is worth taking a look back at what we thought would happen, what really happened and what the next year could look like.
This time last year the US is ushering in their new president, the UK was still waiting for the Article 50 to be triggered (and to some extent were still debating the referendum outcome) and nobody truly knew what the year ahead would bring.
For the property industry, we had already weathered a slowing in the market, as political and economic uncertainty created a sense of caution for buyers and sellers, but a lack of sufficient stock seemed to be the dominant challenge.
So, when we looked ahead to what we believed 2017 would bring, we knew that getting more properties to market would continue to be the main focus of the industry. With the Government’s recent reconfirmation that building more houses is a priority for them, we’re certain that we’ll be talking about this issue for some time. New ground is definitely being broken (both physically and metaphorically) to ensure supply meets demand, with new technologies such as modular construction being explored to try and bring house building up to the necessary levels. On this issue, we were unfortunately right and it continues to dominate the conversation on housing.
On other issues though, our predictions haven’t quite matched the reality. With the new Stamp Duty Land Tax levy on additional properties, the Buy-to-Let market had already started to decline by the end of 2016. We believed (as did the Government and many within the industry) that this initiative would free up property for first-time buyers and struggling second-steppers, and get the market moving. As a result, we thought we would see a rise in shared-ownership schemes, as well as an increase in high LTV mortgages for first-time buyers. As we wrote in this blog in September 2017, shared-ownership hasn’t quite taken off as we thought it would. Do you think it will play a bigger role in 2018? Or do you think Shared Ownership needs a bit of a shake up?
Nevertheless, 2018 is shaping up to be an interesting year for the property industry. As Brexit negotiations continue and an air of uncertainty still hangs over Britain’s economic future, confidence in the housing market and creating opportunities for those at the bottom of the ladder will be key to keeping the market moving in the next 12 months. House prices should remain steady, there is certainly opportunity within the remortgage market as consumers begin to shop around as a result of the base rate rise and, most importantly, people are still moving home.
For now – I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.