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A silver lining for UK property: The outlook for 2019

Brexit is creating more fog than a cold wet day in the Surrey Hills. While the Prime Minister has survived a vote of confidence, a deal is still yet to be made; predictions for UK property in 2019 are changing frequently and with this, prolonged uncertainty that means the ‘wait and see’ approach remains popular with buyers and sellers. Despite the uncertainty, we’ve shared our outlook for Surrey property in 2019 (the B-word aside)…and there is a silver lining.

Mark Blakeway, Head of Lettings, highlights some unexpected benefits in the rental market: “2018 has seen a lot of development in Guildford, with new apartment blocks including Trinity Quarter, Scholars Court and Cricketers View just some of the developments completed this year. With such an influx of new property available, one could be forgiven for thinking that prices would become depressed with the increase in supply.

However, the appetite for rental property in Guildford at times feels insatiable, with international students and young professionals snapping up high quality rental properties as soon as they become available. If anything, this has put more of an emphasis on quality with landlords forced to make sure that their properties are looking pristine in order to compete. We certainly don’t see an uplift in the quality of property as a negative outcome for the new year.

In addition, resale apartments have perhaps had a slight correction in value which – coupled with a higher quality finish and fuller rent – generally means a better yield for the canny investor. “Looking ahead, a good eye for interior decoration is a must to maximise rent, encourage the best quality tenants and minimise any void periods which are the biggest drain on income in any rented property.

“What’s next? The industry as a whole continues to have more and more legislation applied, most of which is firmly directed at safety and regulating agents. We think most would agree that this can only benefit landlords and tenants alike.”

David Williams, Director, looks ahead to the new year: “Historically we look to sentiment, supply and confidence to drive our short-term forecasts, but 2018 has been far from a normal year! Many have felt that the dreaded “Brexit” effect has had a significant impact on the market and indeed, we have seen an adjustment in pricing in many areas. However, the Surrey villages have always been the exception, and have seemed somewhat safeguarded against political and economic changes.

What has been impacted is confidence, and this has been the overriding reason behind lower stock numbers and the number of purchasers that are registering. If Teresa May’s deal is agreed, in its current or a revised guise, we may well see a quick return to sureness and a sudden surge in buying activity following the corrections to property values in 2018. With mortgage rates currently low, a buyers’ market could emerge.

Clearly, further delay on a deal and the resulting political fallout will have an impact on sentiment. Personal finances will be scrutinised more closely, and we’d expect to see a continuation of the ‘wait and see’ stance that so many homeowners have taken over the last few years.

Grantley’s role is as an expert and adviser, as well as a facilitator. We know that whatever the market conditions, people still need and want good-quality homes in safe and pleasant surroundings. Whatever the political outcome, I expect a surge from frustrated buyers and sellers who have held on long enough. We’re looking forward to January and to hearing from more buyers and sellers considering a move in 2019.”

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