Housing market deteriorates as Brexit ‘weighs heavily on people’s minds’

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:49 13 February 2019

The housing market is deteriorating but locally, agents are upbeat. Pic:

The housing market is deteriorating but locally, agents are upbeat. Pic:

Home owners want to move but a shortage of buyers because of Brexit is causing the property market to stall.

Simon Arnes, William H Brown's group operations director. Pic: Arnes, William H Brown's group operations director. Pic:

People are getting their homes valued and putting them on the market but a crucial shortage of buyers is causing a property logjam with Brexit “weighing heavily on customers’ minds”.

That was the overview from the quarterly market report from the Connells group, one of the country’s biggest estate agencies with 180 branches across the UK including William H Brown which has more than 25 branches across Norfolk alone.

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It also comes as the latest figures from the Land Registry show on average, house prices have risen by 0.2% since November 2018 but not in the East of England which saw the most significant monthly price fall, down by 1.1%.

The Connells market report had a gloomy overview from its group chief executive David Livesey who said: “Whilst a seasonal Q4 slowdown was to be expected, the reductions seen in the quarter, particularly in sales activity, were more marked than we expected and give further evidence that Brexit is weighing heavily on customers’ minds.”

He added the new homes market – typically buoyant – was “not immune to the sentiment” and “despite a full year sales number that matches our record performance in 2017, the final quarter of 2018 saw new instructions fall 4% behind Q4 2017. We ended the quarter with applicant registrations 18% lower than Q4 2017. Buyer confidence remains weak with prospective buyers undertaking fewer viewings. The average time from sale to exchange is now 83 days.”

Simon Arnes, group operations director for William H Brown across Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “The property market is still alive and kicking and we have experienced good levels of interest since the start of 2019. It is clear, however, that Brexit is causing both vendors to be reluctant to put their house on the market and buyers making their final commitment.

“Could this be a missed opportunity? It’s my view that if Brexit gets resolved successfully, the market could well see a bounce, so securing a property now may be a good move. Property has been a good long term investment and I always say to clients who ask for advice, if you take a 10 year view, you will generally come out on the right side. We in Norfolk and Suffolk are open for business and have weathered every market condition that’s been thrown at us.”

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