Within the industry press and in the general media there is an air of doom and gloom about the property market and some suggest bleak prospects for it. We are back to a point where dramatic headlines are being used to grab people’s attention amidst this modern-day social media scramble to be noticed. Is there a crisis in the housing market?
I have a perhaps somewhat naive belief that the press should inform not preach, reporting should be objective and not driven by a particular purpose nor should it be advertorial.
It is true to say that there is a drop in the number of property transactions year on year. According to the Office for National Statistics, as of December 2018 ‘There was an overall decrease of 48,116 property sales in England and Wales on the previous year.’
That sounds quite significant doesn’t it? Well, the Centre For Towns figures would suggest there are 6,409 villages, towns, communities and cities in England and Wales so, across the two countries, each area saw, in a year, eight fewer sales in twelve months. In fact, if we assume that cities, large towns and communities saw a higher number than outlying areas, well, for many, who would notice a difference?
Think about it; if each month, near most of you, one less home sold, would you feel a crisis were here?
There is no doubt that the property market needs to cool down, it has been trying to do that for some years and Brexit has had little to do with it directly.
Confidence drives economies and it drives our property market. Brexit has been a hugely divisive topic because at the heart of it we have a nation split, we have a second English Civil War, one fought upon the battlefields of social media.
Whatever you believe about Brexit, about the best future for our country, the truth is that you probably believe there is a future and one that can be positive.
People are resilient, resourceful and determined. Life goes on and with it people move, they move for all the reasons they always do; to start a new life, to accommodate a growing family, to follow job opportunity, to be near family, to ease health, to clear mortgages, to invest, to retire.
We never had a normal market! I haven’t known one in thirty-five years and to try and compare today’s market with any other is hard enough, to predict is nigh on impossible, but one thing I will say, Life Goes On!
HM Land Registry shows 1,025,511 transactions for 2018, if you look at the downloadable .csv file on their website.
If we hit the lows of 2009, 771,710 for transactions in England and Wales, we would see three sales a month fewer per area and again the larger towns and cities would eat up their fair share. Would that feel like a crisis? It wouldn’t be great, but a crisis?
No one wants to see a market fall apart, no one wants the return of tough times but, when you are reading the news, whether it be doom and gloom or shiny happy news, just stop to think that, in my thirty five years of selling homes, in the worst year, 771,710 homes sold! I think that is still pretty fantastic and we are a long way from being back there again.
On average people move once every fourteen years or so. If you buy a home today, look forward to fourteen wonderful years under your own roof, of raising kids, sharing times with friends and family, by the time you come to move, today’s news, the gripes, the conjecture, what will it all mean then?
Life does go on, so don’t stop living it!
As for the data, and I say this because I am sure someone will question, will challenge these figures. House price and transaction data seems to be open to interpretation and up for challenge at every turn. I’m happy to have more clarity provided.
Ultimately, the purpose of this article is to provide a different perspective and for those who may be thinking, ‘Will I be able to sell?’, to provide them hope and a different viewpoint.
Numbers are important but context is too.