Brexit fears abound despite stable house price growth

"Nothing is certain. Nobody quite knows where he or she is in this Brexit year.

"Nothing is certain. Nobody quite knows where he or she is in this Brexit year. - Credit: Archant

Annual house price growth is stable at 1.3 per cent, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

The figures from December show a month-on-month increase of 2.2 per cent and a quarterly drop of 0.4 per cent. The average cost of a UK home now stands at £229,729.

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said 2018’s annual growth was within the 0-3 per cent range forecast at the start of the year, adding: “In 2019, we’re expecting continued stability in house prices with between two and four per cent price inflation. This is slightly stronger than 2018, but still fairly subdued by modern comparison.”

Brexit brings extra uncertainty however, with Russell adding that “this expectation will clearly be dependent on the Brexit outcome, with risks to both sides of our forecast.”

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agents, believes the quarterly decline of 0.4 per cent is a more accurate representation of the property market than the “unexpected” annual increase.

He said: “Buyers and sellers alike are sitting on their hands and this is likely to continue during the first three months of the year until there is more clarity on the outcome of Brexit.

“Knowledge is power in the property market but right now few people would claim to be in the know about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy.”

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He added that the “downward drag on prices caused by London and the South East” is being countered by areas of the north where property is “realistically priced and transaction levels fluid.

“Many of the regions seeing growth and activity levels are also not in Brexit line of fire to the extent that London and the South East are.”

Nick Wellington, manager of Putterills’ Hitchin branch, confirmed that property industry professionals are “very unsure” about what the future holds, with Brexit being the key cause of this uncertainty.

“This is an extraordinary time,” he said. “Nothing is certain. Nobody quite knows where he or she is in this Brexit year.”

He added: “If you are thinking about moving in 2019 you have choices. Consider them wisely. Don’t bank on the killer sale. Do aim for a great purchase. Be realistic. Price, price, price is as important as location, location, location.”