APRIL 2019 PRESS ROUND-UPThe Halifax points to an increase in the average house price of 3.2 per cent in March, bringing the mean property value to £233,181. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Express that the Halifax data is ‘yet another set of figures demonstrating better than expected resilience of the UK housing market but also the dangers of reading too much into one month’s figures’. He explained further in City AM: ‘On the ground, we are seeing more buying activity in the buildup to the traditionally busy spring market but it is patchy, encouraging in some areas, disappointing in others - even sometimes very close to one another. On the other hand, many sellers are still cautious, awaiting a small sign at least that their Brexit nightmare will soon be over and they will have more confidence about taking on additional debt.’
Meanwhile, the more historic index from the Office for National Statistics and the Land Registry revealed that the average house price in England increased by 0.4 per cent in the year to February. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘These figures show the property market has finally caught up with what we have been seeing on the ground for some time – in other words, a lot of caution and ‘wait and see’ until political uncertainty lifts a little at least.’ He added in What Mortgage: ‘Transaction numbers have proved more resilient than expected, demonstrating that although business is tough realistic buyers and sellers are still seeking value, particularly in this traditionally busy spring season for the market.’
Enquiries from new buyers fell in March, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Telegraph there was more buyer enthusiasm ‘but sellers are still nervous’, adding: ‘We still believe pent-up demand will be released once the odds on a Brexit deal shorten’.
Landlords won’t be able to evict tenants from their homes without good reason, the Government has announced. Jeremy Leaf told The Mirror that no-fault evictions aren’t a real problem: ‘This announcement is perhaps more political than practical in that the Government wants to be seen to be recognising the plight of possibly only a small number of millennials, in particular, who are frustrated by evictions at short notice and with little justification. On the ground, we don’t find this happens frequently at all so hope that a thorough evidence-based consultation will flush out the extent of the problem. This will ensure that landlords do not desert the sector unnecessarily; if they did, it would only result in further upward pressure on rents and affordability issues.’
In a slow market there are bargains to be had but look for a home with potential for price growth. Michael Zucker at Jeremy Leaf & Co told The Evening Standard: ‘Look at streets where a few houses have been sympathetically improved but where there are several run-down properties to which you can add value.’