On The Threshold: Where is the UK property market heading in 2019?



By Alessandro Pasetti, 21 December

2019 is just around the corner, and there are signs it could be another decent year in terms of capital appreciation for real estate in Britain, if you listen to the experts, who in recent weeks have downplayed political and economic uncertainty in terms of growth prospects. The mid-term outlook remains encouraging, based on several projections.

According to market specialist Savills, house prices in the UK are set to rise broadly in line with income power over the next five years, “but the traditional north-south divide will turn on its head”, as one should expect. Between 2019 and 2023, prices are projected to rise by 14.8% across the country, ranging from 21.6% in the North West to single digit growth in London, the South and East.

These forecasts are consistent with data from Zoopla, which says that despite Brexit-related uncertainty, “Brits are staying positive when it comes to property” – with 55% expecting house prices to rise in the next 12 to 18 months. According to its State of the Property Nation report, consumer confidence in house prices is up from 44% in 2016, with most people expecting single digit price rises, although real estate agents are more cautious.

Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon, head of research at Strutt & Parker, recently talked of “forecast for UK growth at 2.5% for 2019 – with the 5-year forecast from 2018 to 2022 standing at 18%.”

Total transactions for England and Wales in 2018 were flat, and similar trends are likely to persist next year, according to McMahon, with the number of registered buyers and viewing numbers gradually up, although Prime Central London is a rather different matter, with volumes continuing to be low by historic standards. As far as the number of transactions is concerned, a fall of “6.9% since the Brexit vote to 1.145 million” has been recorded so far, according to data from Savills, which says it demonstrates the resilience of the UK housing market.

A mild 1% drop to 2023 is now expected – in this respect, some useful data can be found here.

In big cities where Inveztments is heavily involved in new development projects, such as Manchester and Liverpool, trends remain structurally favourable on several fronts – for more evidence, please click here. Of course, some underlying data is mixed on a monthly basis across the country, but seasonality often renders very short-term trends highly volatile and less reliable than others.

Research published by PriceWaterhouseCoopers this year noted that under a base-case scenario, a further softening of house price growth to around 3% in 2018 was expected to continue at a similar average rate to 2025. This implies that the average UK house price would rise from £221,000 in 2017 to around £285,000 by 2025.

“Price growth at this pace would mean that the ratio of house prices to earnings would remain broadly stable, but still at high levels by historical standards,” it added.

As The Irish Times wrote, most property experts predict steady but unspectacular property growth in 2019, as lending rules and higher stock levels help slow house price inflation. Sherry FitzGerald chief economist Marian Finnegan argued that transaction activity improved marginally during 2018; however, “this expansion has been driven almost entirely by the new homes market”.

“The latest data from the Residential Property Price Register reveals that about 23,300 single transactions were recorded during the first half of 2018,” she said, adding “this represents a 5% increase on the same period in 2017.

“Notably, almost 4,300 new homes transacted in the first six months of the year, a 31% increase year-on-year. Sales activity in the established or second-hand market was much more subdued, with about 19,000 sales representing just a 1% rise.”

Action… and Happy Holidays!

We remind you that the flagship projects managed by the team of Inveztments – click here, here and here – have received a strong response from the market, and we would be glad to help you find the property investment that suits your risk/reward profile.

We wish you and your loved ones happy New Year and a fantastic holiday season!

(This post was written by Alessandro Pasetti. Ale is the founder of Hedging Beta Ltd. He writes about investment strategy and assets valuation for European clients as well as Seeking Alpha, The Loadstar, Transport Intelligence and others. Based in London, he previously worked for about five years at Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, producing analysis for the IB community. Prior to that, he contributed to the launch of London-based Loan Radar, where he worked for three years. He had stints in equity research at Bear Stearns in London, HVB in Munich, and Unicredit in Milan.

It was edited by Gavin van Marle, managing editor of London-based The Loadstar. Gavin is also the author of the book Around the World in Freighty Ways: Adventures in Globalisation. He has won numerous awards, including the Seahorse Journalist of the Year 2011 and 2009, and Supply Chain Journalist of the Year 2010 and 2014.)