HOW will 2019 shape up for the Brighton and Hove property market?

During this ongoing time of political and economic uncertainty for the UK, we’re often asked what the right or wrong thing is to do when it comes to making property decisions in the current market.

We know people expect a simple response. But the honest answer is, it all depends on your own personal position. While, it’s natural to consider external factors; the most important question to ask is what is right for you at any particular time. So, there really is no one-size-fits-all answer.

What we can do is look at your own goals, your aspirations for the future and your current position, before providing the guidance and advice you need to plan your next move. It may be that you want to move to a particular location to fulfil your career or lifestyle aspirations, or you may be facing a life-changing event that is prompting your move.

Either way, our advice would be; don’t let speculation put you off planning your ideal future.

What to expect in Brighton and Hove

Before we look at the local area, it’s worth seeing what’s going on in the capital. Many reports suggest that the market in London could struggle in 2019, mainly due to the lack of international purchasers looking to make an investment there.

However, the Brighton and Hove market is somewhat different, with its own trends that set it apart from London and the rest of the country. Here we’re still seeing a healthy number of applicant registrations coming from Londoners looking to move to the area. Typically, this is to fulfil a change in lifestyle, whether that is as a second home or as a new permanent home.

For the team at Lextons, it’s easy to see why so many are keen to make the move to Brighton from London. We’ve both made the move ourselves, as have a number of our colleagues.

Plenty of areas here feel like parts of London so buyers can maintain the lifestyle they’re used to but with all the benefits of living on the coast. And with excellent train links, Brighton and Hove continues to be the perfect location for professionals, families and retirees.

House prices and the B-word

Naturally, everyone wants to know what is likely to happen to house prices after Brexit. At the time of writing, the drama continues at Westminster as the Prime Minister tries to gain support for her Brexit plan. And we suspect that when you read this, there will still be many unanswered questions. But reassuringly, figures show that UK prices remained stable after the Brexit vote in 2016, even though many experts predicted a drop.

At the same time, Britain has become more affordable for investors, compared to the property markets in France and Germany where returns have fallen in recent years.

While many expected house prices to drop in 2018, there was in fact a small increase. According to the Office for National Statistics, average house prices in the UK have increased by 3.1 per cent in the year to July 2018.

A weak pound is not necessarily bad news when it comes to selling property as it means overseas buyers will get a better deal by investing in the UK. So, although there may be fewer international buyers in London, overall we’re expecting the market in Brighton and Hove to remain strong, despite the economic uncertainty.

Of course, we’ll be keeping a careful eye on Brexit proceedings over the coming months. If you’d like any advice tailored to your own particular circumstances in 2019, pop in to our offices and we’ll be happy to help.

House sale success

Finding the right buyer for your property is just the first step in securing a sale. It’s what happens next that is so important to ensure the sale reaches completion.

In a study by Post Office Money, researchers found that 44 per cent of house sales fall through within four weeks of an offer being agreed. This is a much higher figure than is often quoted, with many estate agents suggesting that they have a fall through rate of between 25 per cent and 33 per cent.

At Lextons, we have put strategies in place to keep our fall through rate much lower than this.

We make sure every buyer who makes an offer has already completed documentation, providing the details of their solicitor and mortgage advisor. If they are making a cash purchase, we ask for evidence to show that the money is available. As a result, in 2018 we were able to keep our fall through rate down at 24 per cent; a figure that is much lower than the national average.

Where sales did fall through, it was largely due to the individual’s personal circumstances changing, rather than any issues with finance.

Looking forward to 2019

To wrap up, our prediction for the Brighton and Hove market in 2019 is very positive. We’re expecting to see more buyers wanting to move into the area, with many making the most of what may be the lowest interest rates in mortgage lending we will see for a while.

By Peter Phillips and James Pepper

Directors, Lextons