Expert View: Nick Doyle predicts what the market has in store in 2017

Nick Doyle, Aitchisons

Nick Doyle, Aitchisons - Credit: Archant

Following an eventful 2016 (understatement of the year so far) I am encouraged to see that the local housing market has shown early positive signs of activity since we returned, with a prevailing sentiment of more commitment from sellers and buyers alike.

From the Housing White Paper expected in January, which promises to set out ‘radical’ plans to boost housing supply, to the last Spring Budget in March, at which the Government is facing pressure to reduce stamp duty – not forgetting the expected triggering of Article 50 shortly thereafter – it seems fair to say that the year ahead will have its fair share of market-moving events. The only certain thing it seems is the uncertainty.

On a local level, following the festive period, we have seen an increase in the number of new applicant registrations, booked valuations and a consequent rise in the number of viewings.

Brexit will never be far from the news but we are often hearing lately (both at work, and socially) that “life has to go on” and things can’t be put on hold for what, as we hear, could be anything from two to 10 years.

Plans and strategies might be modified, but events happen every year to cause those things and many people want to or need to move for all of the traditional reasons.

Just last week, our annual staff training conference included an economic overview from a senior macroeconomist at Lloyds Bank who remarked how resilient the UK economy has been in the last six months with positive economic growth.

The run on sterling is likely to increase inflation although it is still under the Bank of England’s target level. However, the increase in exports will help improve the UK balance sheet and he also forecast that interest rates would remain static during 2017.

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Nationally, predictions for 2017 show modest growth with Nationwide predicting a 3 per cent increase, RICS 2 per cent and the London prime market flat. The south east is still suffering from a shortage of supply, so perhaps there are grounds for encouragement if pent up demand continues.

Our busy city centre office has what is probably the most experienced team in St Albans. I have led this for 20 years, ably assisted by James Shaw, Michele Austin and Hannah Blackmore.

Nick Hill has recently joined as Consultant, bringing 45 years of agency experience, including working in St Albans since 1997. If you are thinking of moving we would be delighted to hear from you in 2017, whatever your property requirement.

Nick is Operations Director of Aitchisons, St Albans. To speak to him or a member of his team, call 01727 855556.