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As we reflect on a somewhat turbulent year, which has seen Brexit, changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax and further political and economic uncertainty, there is undoubtedly more change afoot as we look ahead to 2018 and the South West housing market.
Uncertainty and the South West housing market
Perversely, this uncertainty has demonstrated a positive effect on the South West housing market as we have witnessed it defying the stagnation of the rest of the country. With fewer homes and a much higher than average term of ownership than other areas of Britain, the West Country has always demonstrated a shortage of good houses for sale. This weak supply underpins prices and creates an artificially high demand when coupled with the increasing trend to move west in search of a better lifestyle.
Forecasting the future
Looking ahead to 2018, Stags is forecasting a growth in prices for prime property in desirable areas. However, for properties outside of these areas, growth is not predicted until there is greater clarity regarding the Brexit process. We are certainly not forecasting house prices to match high inflation going forward. Properties within towns and villages are particularly sought-after by families, young professionals and those moving to the area to retire, and we expect this trend to continue creating price pressure moving forward.
The Brexit fallout
As many buyers were unable to find a home last year, experts at Stags predict a buoyant housing market in the first half of 2018. The recent interest rate rise brought us back in line with the state of play two years ago, though this is set to change yet again with another interest rate rise forecasted in the spring. But as the majority of South West buyers are “cash buyers”, we may escape unscathed. Continued political and economic uncertainty means that housing has gone from being a niche subject to one that is close to the top of political and media agendas.
Bearing all of these factors in mind, we at Stags would urge clients who wish to sell their homes in a timely fashion to put themselves in the shoes of their potential purchasers. Presentation is important and a delayed sale is directly proportional to a reduced sale price. This is why we are heavily investing in online marketing strategies to ensure the quickest and most efficient service for both vendors and applicants.