‘What is going to happen to property prices? Should I buy now or wait?’ Those two questions are the ones most often often directed to me and I have usually always answered them the same way.
There are always wild claims from so-called ‘property experts’ (often driven by gaining media attention to grow their brand rather than truly help people) and figures were bandied about in all sorts of wild and not so wild ways. Even now, after 38 years, I’m still waiting for an analyst or an economist to predict the future of the property market accurately!
I remember that, towards the end of 2022, predictions were that the market was in for a tough time and prices would drop significantly.
Looking back at press articles a consensus was that the 2023 market would see a 10% drop in property prices.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) currently report the average UK house price in December 2022 as £289,008. Those predictions for the 2023 market would have meant that price becoming £260,107.20 at the end of 2023.
What was the average UK house Price at the end of 2023?
At the time of writing we only have statistics to the end of November 2023 when the average UK House Price was recorded as £284,950 so what happened? Why didn’t prices drop as some predicted?
We haven’t experienced the dramatic price drops predicted; but what comes next?
What comes next? There are too many variables for predictions to be accurate.
In my experience, when I listen to the more balanced, more considered professionals speaking, the ones who have access to solid data and apply some sort of common sense analysis, there is still massive factor missing from the majority of predictions: the emotional tide.
I don’t know how many tens of thousands of people I have spoken with through the years; how many I have quizzed, stood beside and listened to, sympathised with, advised and shared journeys with.
I have lived and I have worked through a number of recessions, seen the highs and lows of the property market, worked through the busiest year this industry has ever known and possibly will ever know.
At the end of 2022 we and the property market had lots to contend with but there was a shortage of homes on the market. Head winds there were but life goes on and people move. When there is still a demand and reduced supply then good homes are still sought after and the seller hasn’t lost all bargaining power. Prices didn’t crumble, although the changes weren’t uniform and to get an average some areas saw greater reductions than others.
I wonder if every drop of water in the ocean fears being smashed against the rocks?
It is natural to worry. Buying a home is a massive challenge financially and mentally. In a world of constant information overload it is hard to sift and it is hard to trust. Headlines sway people and, although social media marketers say ‘content is king’, content is rarely balanced, it’s there to suit the purpose of the content creator.
No one wants to lose money, lose their home, make a bad decision and we fight internally with ourselves.
Human emotion is like the tide, it ebbs and flows. We are drawn backwards and forwards by circumstances out of our control and by the reporting: what is the truth amongst all the conjecture, the opinions?.
Like water droplets in the sea, most of us exist out of harms reach, in the deep, sometimes calm, sometimes troubled but mainly away from danger.
Some droplets wash gently across warm sandy shorelines, some get tumbled around and some are forced into narrow channels or battered against the rocks. There is ebb and flow to all of it. Most of us exist away from significant harm.
‘What is going to happen to property prices? Should I buy now or wait?’
Don’t look at predictions, don’t listen to experts, they are not living your life!
Anyone who has lost a job during their life, seen a downward change in salary, dealt with cost of living increases will know that, when times are hard many of us can cut things out of our life that are non essential and make savings. In 2022 there were an estimated 6.4 million people who smoked cigarettes. Average cost of smoking in a year? £4,841.20
Those property prices I mentioned at the beginning: In eleven months the average homeowner lost £4058.
The most important word is ‘Home’.
You don’t buy a home when you are looking to move in twelve months time! That may be home for twelve months but, in my eyes, it isn’t a ‘home’.
Those of you who read my blogs will have read this before: ‘We can always make more money! We started with none and look at how much we have today. None of us can make more time and we don’t know how much we started with’.
If you are thinking of buying a home weigh up the impact upon your life, your family. If you are planning to buy a home then how will it feel to be there creating memories, making life special? How long are you prepared to wait before you start that journey?
My view of the future?
The tide keeps moving. Listen to your heart, do let your head have its say but follow your heart. If you want to buy a home, the right time is when it best suits you. No one else can live your life and therefore no one else can advise you or what is best.
People do get on with life and this year, 2024, may not be the best year the property market will experience but I doubt it will be the worst. A temperature test so far suggests people are buying and are wanting to buy. Life goes on.
The average person moves every twenty three years so if you do take the plunge today and buy a home, what will the the world look like in twenty three years time? What will property prices be? For those people who bought homes in 2001 when the average property price was £93,136, how does the world seem now?
Make your own mind up by asking proper questions, analysing for yourself, applying it to your vision of your future and then decide to buy, or not. If you are buying a true ‘home’ then I doubt many will go wrong in life by getting on and doing it.
Just to get you thinking: Let’s look at Kent as an example. 2024 begins with a fraction over 32,000 homes on the market as we also had at the beginning of 2019. Today just over forty percent of those homes are under offer. In January 2019 only just over thirty-four percent of homes were under offer. 2019 saw 1.177 million property transactions, slightly below the average of 1.25m but, so far, things suggest the market will be ok this year.
If you want some guidance on what to ask and why, read this article: Ten key questions to understand where the property market is heading.
Whatever you decide, decide for yourself and – Make Life Special!