There’s no doubt that 2016 was a year of immense change and unrest. The political landscape alone was dramatically rearranged both here and abroad and it seemed, too, as if everyone’s favourite celebrities/artists/musicians/notables were dropping like flies. But what of the future? And what about the property market, both in Dorset and beyond? What do the twelve months ahead of us hold in store? Let’s take a look.
The outlook isn’t immediately sparkling. Predictions are for UK prices to rise merely two per cent and notoriously expensive central London prices to drop by five per cent. And yes, you guessed it, the cause is widely thought to be the bewildering uncertainty left in the wake of Brexit. So although UK-wide prices will keep on rising (for the seventh year in a row), local markets could experience deterioration. In addition to Brexit (sorry – the dreaded ‘B’ word again), the other significant influence on the market last year were the Stamp Duty changes introduced two years ago. The upfront cost of buying a home increased as a result. Then there were the introduction of higher rates of duty on second homes, brought in in April.
Right now, the average asking-price of a UK home is approximately £299,000, but before December 2016, it was £6000 higher. It’s not hugely alarming yet, because this figure is still considerably higher than the December 2015 figure. What concerns some forecasters is that the December 2016 dip was a result of the referendum result. What, they wonder reasonably enough, will happen when the referendum is actually implemented? What effect will the invoking of Article 50 have on the property market?
Fortunately, high demand for homes in the low/middle part of the market is keeping things ticking over. Since owners are not inclined to move at the moment, this is maintaining house prices because fewer homes are for sale, which exacerbates demand.
The good news is that although central London properties (e.g. in Westminster) are expected to lose tens of thousands from their value over the coming months, average house prices in places like Dorset are in all likelihood