Having recently reviewed our results for 2016, I was not surprised when the Office for National Statistics announced last week that the UK economy had grown faster than expected at the end of last year.
Despite all the worries from the effects of the Brexit vote, like the economy as a whole, we enjoyed an excellent year for the housing market in the areas in which Gascoigne Halman operates around South Manchester and Cheshire.
We saw the strongest house price growth for properties priced up to £750,000 which saw an average increase of around 6%.
The number of houses sold in the twelve month period was broadly the same as the preceding year. This, together with an especially active year in the residential lettings market, enabled us to post a record set of results.
Fast forward to today and I am looking at my predictions for the market in 2017. The starting point is that we have fewer houses for sale than we had a year ago. Demand, however, is still high so we can only see prices rising. This price growth will be restricted to a certain extent by affordability levels which are are stretched, so we expect price rises to be gradual. This is not a bad thing.
The underlying markers for the property market remain strong and we continue to bear the consequences of a growing population with new home starts falling well below targeted figures.
We are therefore suggesting price rises of a further 3 to 4 % during 2017.
Meanwhile, our movement from being one of Europe’s highest countries for owner occupiers to one of the lowest means that the demand for rented property remains high and many properties are let in a matter of days from becoming available. Rent levels continue to rise although we sense that they are reaching a maximum from an affordability perspective.
We live in uncertain times with the true effects of our Brexit vote still to be realised and the worries as to what a Trump administration will have on the world. Despite these difficulties with the robust nature of the property market, the continuing popularity of the area we live in and the shortage of housing I can only see house prices continuing to rise and demand continuing to exceed supply in the rental sector.