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Brexit: Should I buy a house now or wait and see?

Monday, 4 February 2019  |  Admin

As Brexit uncertainty continues, is it the right time to buy a house, or is it wise to wait until after we exit the EU?

Back in September, comments made by the Governor of the Bank of the England, Mark Carney, hit the headlines when he suggested that house prices could fall by 35% over three years following Brexit.

Looking beyond the headlines, this was a worst-case scenario, with the figures having been produced during a stress-test exercise, carried out to assess the resilience of financial institutions in the most extreme situation.

The current situation

Despite widespread uncertainty, the public remains surprisingly confident, with 30% thinking that house prices will increase, 28% expecting a plateau and only 4% saying that prices will fall after Brexit.

In the year to June there was a drop in house prices in London, but an increase of over 3% on average overall.

More recently, estate agency Rightmove has seen a fall in asking prices, with an average drop of £5,000 in November of this year and an increase in time taken to find a buyer from 56 to 61 days.

Should you buy?

It seems likely that the market will continue to slow as buyers decide to wait and see. If mortgage rates rise, then ultimately there could be a risk of negative equity for those who buy at the top of the market.

If you do decide to buy, it should be a long-term decision if possible, to a property you can envisage staying at for at least 5 years. This will give the market time to stabilise.

Estate agents suggest that those struggling to sell should reduce prices by a single large cut, which will put the property before a different set of buyers. Several smaller reductions run the risk of damaging buyer confidence.

Early indications are that the first half of 2019 will be sluggish and a buyers’ market. This may mean there are good deals to be made for first-time buyers.

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