A good barometer of the housing market the share price of the big UK builders. Much was made of Barratt’s share price dropping by 42.5% in the two weeks after Brexit, along with Taylor Wimpey’s equally eye watering drop in the same two weeks by 37.9%. Studying the most recent set of data from the Land Registry, property values in Aylesbury are 0.23% down month on month (and the month before that, they had barely grown with an increase of only 0.11%) – so is this the time to panic and run for the hills?
Doom and Gloom then? Well, let’s consider the other side of the coin.
It is dangerous to look at short term. I have mentioned in several articles, that the heady days of Aylesbury property prices rising quicker than a thermometer in the desert sun between the years 2011 and late 2016 are long gone. Yet it might surprise you that during those impressive years of house price growth, the growth wasn’t smooth and all upward. Aylesbury property values dropped by 1.18% in January 2012 and 2.06% in June 2013 – and no one batted an eyelid then.
You see, property values in Aylesbury are still 12.16% higher than a year ago, meaning the average value of an Aylesbury property today is £371,100. Even the shares of those new home builders Barratt have increased by 43.3% since early July and Taylor Wimpey’s have increased by 37.3%. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the Government Spending Watchdog, recently revised down its forecast for house-price growth in the coming years - but only slightly.
The Aylesbury housing market has been steadfast partly because the wider economy has performed better than expected since Brexit. There is a robust link between the unemployment rate and property prices, and a flimsier one with wage growth. Unemployment in the AVDC area stands at 3,300 people (3.2%), which is considerably better than a few years ago. In 2013 there were 5,400 people unemployed (5.8%) in the same council area.
However, inflation is the only thing that does worry me. Looking at all the pundits, it will reach at least 3% (if not more) in the latter part of 2017 as the drop in Sterling in late 2016 renders our imports with higher prices. If that transpires then the Bank of England, whose target for inflation is 2%, may raise interest rates from 0.25%. However, that won’t be so much of an issue as 81.6% of new mortgages in the UK in the last two years have been fixed-rate and who amongst us can remember 1992 with Interest rates of 15%!
Forget Brexit and yes inflation will be a thorn in the side – but the greatest risk to the Aylesbury (and British) property market is that there are simply not enough properties available thus keeping house prices artificially high. Good news for those on the property ladder, but not for those first-time buyers that aren’t!
|Posing for a treat.|