Autumn Leaves us Guessing
Russell Griffin of Samuel Wood assesses the property market as we ease towards autumn.
Before we know where we are it will be autumn - ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, as John Keats put it. But for many this coming autumn, the mists of Brexit may eventually be lifted and we may be able to see where we are going for the first time in several years. This will be good for the property market, which has certainly been in the doldrums for a while.
That is if politicians will give us a break from tinkering with the property sector. Reports that our new prime minister has some ideas about stamp duty changes and the opposition wants to alter rental legislation yet again, reminds us that one of the biggest threats to a stable property market is politicians and their policies. If evidence were needed of our main political parties’ indifference and lack of vision in the housing sector it is that we now have in place the sixteenth housing minister in 20 years – average time in post, fifteen months. The only ministers with any vision appear to have been those in the Exchequer who clearly see home sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants and sales and letting agents as cash cows.
Another mist that seems to be lifting is the online estate agency one. After several years of confusion, obfuscation, claim and counter claim, recent figures show that online agents accounted for only 7.3% of all UK exchanges in the second quarter of this year. With traditional estate agents commanding 92.7% market share it seems that the house selling public clearly knows which side its bread is buttered. Employing a gifted and experienced estate agent makes the most sense for those serious about selling.
As for mellow fruitfulness, we feel there will be no frenzy in the market this autumn. It may be mellow, but it will also be fruitful for those with an eye to moving before Christmas. With greater certainty in the market and with strong economic conditions there will be a widening choice as more property comes onto the market. With prices still relatively low this autumn should be the perfect time for a move.