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House price growth has dipped to a five-year low although transactions remain healthy. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Sunday Express: ‘Many buyers and sellers are shrugging off Brexit concerns and taking advantage of today’s low mortgage rates.’
UK house price growth in November marked the lowest rate recorded in six years, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf told The Independent: ‘Looking forward, we don’t expect activity to change much, bearing in mind seasonal and political distractions. On the ground, lethargy is replacing energy.’
Meanwhile, remortgaging has reached its highest level in nearly a decade as experts say Brexit uncertainty and cheap loan rates are encouraging borrowers to lock into new deals. Jeremy Leaf told The Mirror: ‘Political shenanigans seem to be more of a preoccupation among buyers in the South East than elsewhere. It remains to be seen how the turmoil of the past month or so plays out in the market but the signs are so far that early new year activity will continue in a relatively subdued manner, much as it has over the past few months.’
Figures from the Office of National Statistics also point to a slow down in house prices as they rise at their slowest pace for more than five years. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘Although very comprehensive, these numbers are a little historic and provide a snapshot of the market in the period leading up to the autumn. They confirm what’s been happening before and since – that price falls in the London area are masking some resilience in the rest of the UK and that transaction numbers are holding up reasonably well. However, overall, prospects for the new year are not good as all the recent Brexit and general economic uncertainty are not reflected in these statistics.’
Will Brexit cause property prices to crash in 2019? Jeremy Leaf told Moneywise: ‘I believe Brexit has been overplayed as the main culprit for present market woes. Prices have risen so far and so fast in recent years – particularly in London and the South East – that an affordability ‘push back’ was inevitable. Overall the market has been underpinned by low mortgage rates, strong employment, lack of stock and Help to Buy in what has become a fragile, needs-driven buyers’ market, which is unlikely to change into early 2019 – irrespective of Brexit.’