The start to 2019 saw a continuation of many of the trends that were apparent towards the end of 2018, namely that there was still significant disaggregation between regional performance, and further nuances between price brackets in key conurbations. With values increasing slightly on a monthly basis in Wales, Scotland, the North East and East of England, and reports across our network of a busy month with buyer enquiries, we would suggest that there is plenty of steam left in the market in parts of the country, albeit that other areas are perhaps seeing some potential movers taking the ‘wait and see’ approach until there is more clarity around the current political situation.
This has led to reports of shortages of stock in some areas, as vendors who would like to move are also holding on until such time as the market in their area improves, providing a degree of insulation for values even where there are fewer buyers who are currently active. With many lenders entering the final quarter of their financial year in January, the market saw a raft of new and highly competitive rates released which added further support for the market as fixed-term product pricing fell to near-historically low levels.
Overall, it would seem that pent-up demand is building in many areas, due to the number of well intentioned buyers and sellers who had hoped that the political uncertainty would have abated by now. Therefore, whilst market sentiment may be one of caution in some areas for the short-term, the mid to longer-term view could well be more optimistic once we have a Brexit denouement.
On a topline basis data for Wales is as follows:
|Wales Average Statistics –
January 2019 data
|Average LTV %||77%||62.5%|
|Average loan size||£133,484||£125,808|
|Average property value||£172,460||£201,293|
Richard Hullin from Mortgage Advice Bureau in Swansea comments:
“We came back to work in January expecting a quiet couple of weeks, but instead hit the ground running with the phones ringing non-stop on the first day back! It would seem that a lot of our clients had been out viewing properties over the Christmas holidays, and as a result wanted to formalise their offers early in the new year. This meant that the majority of mortgages we arranged last month were for clients moving home, either due to a change in circumstances – for example, a few divorce cases which were quite complex to navigate – as well as growing families for whom the festive period had highlighted that they needed more room. As a consequence of this level of activity, prices locally remained steady in January on the previous month.
We also assisted a substantial number of clients with their remortgages in January, many of whom wanted to take the time to review their borrowing and get their finances in order for the new year. In addition, we worked closely with a few of our professional investor clients who required specialist Buy To Let mortgages, as they have large portfolios owned by limited company structures. Overall then, it was very much business as usual for us, despite the Brexit headlines which don’t seem to be causing much – if any – concern to buyers in our local area.”