Market Comment – December 2017

Gary 4x3Firstly I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our current, past and our new 2018 clients a very happy new year.

Over the festive period I have been reading all of the reports as to the housing market in London, the South East and rest of UK and it was with interest I noted RICS warns that the property market is turning cautious and although this is of course sensationalised as bad news, I read this as good news in that sensible is another word for cautious and whilst I don’t predict there will be any dramatic price increases in the areas we operate in 2018, I am looking forward to a sensible and solid year.

Of course, we are lucky in that all of our offices are in the London Borough of Croydon and now Steve Yewman of Westfield has confirmed that work is to start in 13 months and I think this has allayed any fears of uncertainty. Whilst talking about uncertainty, it is true that this is not the best ingredient for the housing market and I have heard many times in 2017 that Brexit has caused uncertainty, this may be the case, however people still need somewhere to live, we still have shortage of housing stock and I remain positive and confident in this respect. I am pleased to say as I write this 2 days in to the new year, we have seen nothing short of a surge of activity with new prospective purchasers registering and more market appraisals booked than the same time last year or the year before.

I was interested to read that banks extended new mortgage commitments to borrowers worth £69.6 billion in the 3 months to the end of September, an increase of 154% on the same period in 2016 and the highest amount recorded over a 3 month period since 2008. I read on Boxing Day an interesting article from Patrick Collinson from the Guardian, stating that it could be a better year for Britain’s dysfunctional housing market and his article is correct in that interest rates, even if they go up, will stay low. New home building has picked up and with 217 thousand new homes coming to the market in 2016 and 2017, up 20% then the year before, stamp duty has been abolished up to all properties up to £300,000 for first time buyers and help to buy gains momentum – all these things in my view will ensure a steady and solid 2018.

Turning to the Lettings market little has been reported, save after years of rent increases, “Landlords are finding they cannot squeeze tenants any further”, that’s not perhaps the phraseology I would use, but I would predict there would be a small increase in rent in the areas we operate in 2018 and I’m going to go out of a limb and say the lettings market in our areas will be nothing short of buoyant.

On the New Homes front, we are delighted to be launching a new development at Wandle Mill and we are now in full flow with Jessop Lodge, with more developments being launched in February.

So to conclude, I foresee an exciting 2018 and because of this we are continuing our expansion programme with new offices and departments of which I will report back to you shortly.

Once again Happy New Year.