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Property price predictions for 2019

The last year has seen relatively little movement in the housing market, leading many expert commentators to cite it as “subdued”. In an in-depth survey carried out by the BBC, experts are predicting a very similar story for 2019, though the picture of how property prices could actually change in the coming year is undoubtedly complicated by the potentially long shadow of Brexit.

Sluggishness that we can expect to see continuing

None of this is to say that the UK housing market during 2018 has been without notable incident. In Cheshire, one estate comprising a six-bedroom house and three cottages sold for nearly £6m. However, such instances were rare in what was, on the whole, an almost static market.

Despite the usual triggers of people putting properties on the market - such as death, debt and divorce - and buyers opting to move, such as work or education, there remained scarce movement in either direction as 2018 unfolded. This was especially the case in large cities.

There is good reason for observers to anticipate this trend continuing in 2019. With lending criteria for new mortgages remaining tight, potentially leading many buyers to improve their existing homes instead of relocating, “the market will continue to tread water,” remarks Andrew Burrell of Capital Economics, who has predicted a mere 1% rise in average UK house prices for this year.

What other experts are forecasting

The averages predicted by other experts paint a similar picture. Andrew Montlake, a mortgage broker at Coreco, has predicted a 1% to 2% rise, while Halifax mortgage lender Russell Galley has pegged the range slightly higher, at 2% to 4%.

Richard Donnell, of property market analysts Hometrack, has projected a 3% increase, while two observers - Miles Shipside of online property portal Rightmove and Simon Rubinsohn of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - have anticipated no change.

However, the commentators have remained united in conceding that prices could significantly vary across the country - potentially even between neighbourhoods of the same town. “Trying to sum up the health of the UK’s 27 million homes is impossible,” insists housing market commentator Henry Pryor, who has suggested that prices could, on average, drop by 5% this year.

The Brexit effect

Though 2018 house price rises have been generally in line with predictions, prices could prove more difficult to confidently call this year, for one especially significant reason: Brexit.

The Bank of England has outlined various possibilities - but not necessarily likelihoods - for how the UK’s separation from the EU could affect the former’s housing market. A “no deal” or “disorderly” Brexit could slash house prices by up to 30%, according to the Bank.

“It is worth stressing that this modelling from the Bank was undertaken for financial stability purposes. Some of the assumptions behind the disorderly Brexit scenario seem implausible to us,” says Rubinsohn. For this reason and others, buyers should not necessarily hesitate to peruse the property market and Google - or otherwise search for - “removal van hire near me”.

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