UK housing market shrugging off Brexit blues

Despite continuing uncertainty, the extension to the Brexit deadline until the end of October has helped to kick start the UK property market, which has seen its largest April price increase since 2016.

uk property markets
The UK property market has experienced a surprising surge in April with new-to-the-market prices increasing 1.1 per cent on the previous month, according to a report from property portal Rightmove.

Political uncertainty

Despite the continuing political uncertainty that has been restraining prices since the Brexit referendum, Rightmove says the latest increase represents the largest month-on-month rise for more than a year and the largest at this time of year since 2016.The increase means the average asking price for a home in Britain rose by £3,447 in April to £305,449, which is now only 0.1 per cent lower than a year ago.

Spectacular spring price rises

"The portal says that it’s usual for properties coming to the market at this time of year to see a price rise as the spring moving season gets underway, but this month’s is spectacular given the economic backdrop," commented the Estate Agent Today website."However, Rightmove admits the uncertain political backdrop continues to hold back the market with new seller asking prices, the number of properties coming to market and the number of sales agreed all below this time last year."The report said that three- and four-bedroom properties – excluding four-bedroom detached homes – were outperforming other sectors and commanding prices 0.7 per cent higher than a year ago.

Middle sector properties

"Properties in this middle sector offer the ideal escape route to families looking for more bedrooms, more space and their choice of schools," said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst."They are often second-steppers out-growing their first property and it gets harder to postpone a move with growing children. They may have already delayed for a year or two waiting for Brexit clarity, and understandably their patience is wearing thin."Mr Shipside said the latest Brexit extension until the end of October could also now give hesitating home movers a feeling, "that there is now a window of relative certainty in uncertain times".He added that there had been a clear increase in demand, with March proving Rightmove's busiest ever month with more than 145 million visits to the website.

Easter momentum

“The rise in new seller asking prices reflects growing activity as the market builds momentum, egged on by the arrival of Easter. Some sectors of the market and some parts of the country have strong buyer demand and a lack of suitable supply," he said. “However, on average, properties are still coming to the market at slightly lower prices than a year ago. It’s one of the most price-sensitive markets that we’ve seen for years, with buyers understandably looking for value, or for homes with extra quality and appeal that suit their needs.”Bruce King, director of Cheffins estate agents in Cambridge, was quoted by Rightmove as saying: "We're certainly seeing an uplift in activity as we come into the spring and summer months.

Bored of Brexit

"The best way to describe the sentiment in the market at the moment is 'bored of Brexit' ­­– fed up with sitting on their hands, sellers are now looking to get on with their lives and move house and buyers are looking to secure somewhere new."People's reasons for moving are still as relevant now as they ever were and buyers in the market still need to upsize, downsize, move locations, move into school catchments and so on and we are seeing that they are now returning to the marketplace as they realise that they can't keep putting life on hold."Families in particular have been most active in the market over the past few months with house moves driven by schools, job relocations or upsizing."
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