Parliament Might Be Suspended, But the Housing Market Isn’t!

Sep 17, 2019

Proroguing, rebel MPs, second referendums, no-deal Brexits – it’s all kicking off in UK politics. You’d be forgiven for thinking that thinking every single other thing in the country is merely a backdrop to shenanigans of the UK government.

While Brexit dominates every aspect of life in the United Kingdom, there is, in fact, other business on the agenda – including the UK housing market. Parliament might be suspended for five weeks, but the buying and selling of property continues with no hold ups.

Yes, some people are waiting for the conclusion of Brexit before deciding on their next move. But others are trying to get ahead of the curve and sort their property status out before October 31st. There are also some who aren’t quite sure what to do next when it comes to buying and selling homes.

In this article, we’re aiming to bring some order the state of play in the UK housing market.

Should you roll the proverbial dice on buying and selling UK property before Brexit?

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September jitters

It’s a little over a month before the UK exits the EU, and house prices have dropped for the first time in September in nine years – according to Rightmove. It’s suggested that the decrease of 0.02% (£730) is down to the uncertainty of Brexit, with the number of homes coming on the market also falling.

However, just last month there was somewhat of a pre-Brexit surge with sales up by around 6%. This leaves us in a state of play where people think now is a good time to make moves, as it could be the last semblance of stability the market sees for some time.

On the other hand, some people would rather wait and see what happens. The September drop further cements this train of thought. Yet, those keen to navigate the market pre-Brexit could find that now is indeed the best time to act.

Long-term vision

The length of time in which people live in their homes is a large factor in driving the property market pre and post-Brexit. For most buyers, purchasing bricks and mortar is a  long-term investment, with people living in their home for an average of nine years.

If you were to apply that nine-year average to buying your home before the October 31st deadline, it would mean living there until 2028. Somehow Brexit looks insignificant in the grander scheme of things – and we bet that’s the first time you’ve ever seen anyone play down the significance of leaving the EU..

Those in the business of buy-to-let might be more reserved, though the private rental sector is expected to increase to a quarter of all UK households by 2021. Whatever your reason for buying, if your plan is long term, there isn’t much reason to wait until the dust has settled.

All about that EPC

Ok, so that’s two costs that you have to pay – no matter who you sell with – out of the way. But what about the other fees that you could be liable for? Unless you’re rolling around in dosh like Scrooge McDuck, there’s a good chance that your current home has a mortgage.

It’s possible that you will need to pay a mortgage exit fee or an early repayment charge when you sell your property. An exit fee is your lender’s admin charge for clearing the balance, while an early repayment fee is if you decide to clear your balance early.

Not all lenders apply these charges, but many do. If you need to pay a mortgage exit fee, expect it to cost between £50 and £300, while early repayment charges can amount to anything between 1% and 5% of the loan amount.

And, guess what? We also have a trusty in-house mortgage advisory team who can get you the best rates if you do need to settle any mortgages upon selling your home.

Final cost: £200 for exit fee and variable for early repayment charges.

Will Brexit really be over? 

One of the key aspects often overlooked is what a divorce from the EU looks like. If the UK does indeed leave without a deal, the subsequent years are likely to contain negotiations between the UK and the EU, as well as other countries outside of Europe.

A no-deal Brexit isn’t so much a resetting of the dial more than it is the beginning of the end of the leaving process. It could mean that after some initial no-deal panic, things pick up pretty quickly in Blighty –  with the economy getting itself in order.

Of course, the UK might still leave with a deal, which would put many minds at rest. The result could very well see things carry on as normal. It’s not just the unknown of Brexit that has slowed things down: from a buyer’s perspective, it’s waiting in the hope of cheaper house prices in a no-deal crash out.

Buying and selling in a pre and post-Brexit world

Since the referendum result, many buyers have waited for a significant house-pride drop. While there has been a decrease, it’s been minimal and hardly worth waiting around for. Sellers are still getting a good price for their homes: it all circles back to that long-term vision.

If you’re planning to buy or sell in the current market, long-term plans should preside over any Brexit uncertainty. The government might have come to a controversial stop, but the rest of the country keeps moving.

And if selling your home is going to help drive you forward, get in touch with one of our property experts. They’ll explain current conditions in your local market and suggest a valuation of your property. As a result, you might soon be leaving just like the UK. Only with a healthy figure in your bank account and a brand new property to call ‘home’.