Writing these notes on a bitterly cold late February day, it may seem strange to suggest that spring is on its way but aside from nature’s barometer of snowdrops, daffodils and even primroses and crocuses which are out already, there is also a hint of green shoots in the housing market.
Over the last couple of years there has been an acute shortage of property for sale and particularly so since last summer despite continuing strong demand. At last there are signs that this situation is starting to be rectified and we are being invited out to an improving number of prospective sellers’ homes to provide market appraisals which has resulted in our being instructed to put more houses up for sale. We anticipate that this will become a self-perpetuating exercise as more buyers will be encouraged to search in earnest and in turn put their own properties on the market.
Despite it still be relatively early in the year, we are also seeing increased buyer activity with a rising level of internet visits and direct registrations. This has led to plenty of viewing requests and sales, particularly for realistically priced character homes situated in the best locations.There are therefore grounds for optimism for the property market in 2016 and with Wiltshire County Council finally beginning to tackle the unacceptably long delays in processing Local Authority Searches compared to its speedier neighbouring counties, progressing sales in Wiltshire should hopefully no longer be as slow as they have been.
What might temper this early promise? This can be summed up in one rather unattractive word; ‘Brexit’. Whatever one’s views are on whether the UK should stay in or leave the European Union, it is after all a topic that stirs divisive opinions, the volatility that is already being experienced in the currency and share markets may also spread to the property sector. If one is thinking of moving, there may be an argument for getting on with it sooner rather than later.
Should polls ahead of the referendum suggest a close result, the housing market could be affected by a case of the jitters. Putting aside issues such as sovereignty and border control, a result in favour of a withdrawal may in the short term have an adverse impact on confidence in the UK economy whilst a ‘stay-in’ outcome is more likely to see the property market settle down quickly or even push ahead.
Even if you are bored of the European question already, we in the property World are likely to have an interesting time of it in the months ahead!