May 19

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May 19

Rightmove found that the price of newly-marketed property increased by an average of 0.9% (+£2,841) during May, buoyed by the spring market and remains consistent with the previous two-year average of 1.0%

What is surprising against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty is that four out of eleven regions are showing few signs of any Brexit blues and have set new record highs for average asking prices.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “Price increases are the norm at this time of year, with only one fall in the last ten years, as new-to-the-market sellers’ price aspirations are under-pinned by the higher buyer demand that is a feature of the spring market. Indeed the 0.9% monthly rise is consistent with the previous two years’ average rise of 1.0% over the same period. What will seem inconsistent to some, given the ongoing uncertainty of the Brexit outcome, is that four out of eleven regions have hit record highs for new seller asking prices.”

Prospective buyers in Wales, the West and East Midlands, and the North West are being confronted with average prices of property coming to market at all-time highs. While the national rate of increase is virtually flat at +0.1% compared to a year ago, these regions have considerably higher prices than at this time last year, with Wales breaking through the £200,000 barrier for the first time. By contrast, London and its commuter belt (the South East and East of England regions) have seen year-on-year falls.

Shipside adds: “Buyers looking in Wales are faced with newly-marketed property prices that are 4.1% higher than 12 months ago, with the West Midlands at 3.0%, the East Midlands at 2.5%, and the North West at 2.1%. These increases are the result of a combination of strong demand, buyers’ affordability headroom, and a continuing shortage of suitable properties. Agents in these areas say that Brexit concerns are not really on the agenda of home-movers; they are more concerned with satisfying their housing needs.”

Compared to the rest of the UK, property owners in the regions which have reached new record prices seem to be overcoming hesitancy to come to market. Their average number of new sellers so far in 2019 is holding steady compared with last year, at just 0.3% down. In contrast the remaining seven regions are seeing new listing numbers for the year to date down by an average of 6.5% compared with the same period in 2018.

Shipside concludes:”Activity breeds activity and a greater choice of fresh properties in these record-setting regions helps to spur buyers into action, especially if they have a property to sell. This in turn adds another new listing that might then tempt another buyer, in a virtuous circle. And in much of the rest of the country, despite the ongoing political uncertainty, agents are reporting that the lure of the right property at the right price still attracts good interest. In spite of some of the challenges in the market, interest in property remains very high.

People’s ongoing desire to satisfy their pent-up housing needs means that on average someone contacts an agent on Rightmove every second.”

As ever, the property industry was quick to react. Here's what they're saying:

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: "Asking prices are not selling prices, which explains why some of these figures do not match results from other recent housing surveys. Overall, although there has been little change, that masks some considerable regional differences. For instance, London is acting as a drag on the rest of the UK housing market and prices don’t include inflation so have risen or fallen further in real terms.

The spring bounce is taking place but not reaching to the heights we would have expected and certainly not in the capital.

Looking forward, we are not expecting significant changes one way or the other, at least until Brexit is clarified."

Shepherd Ncube, Founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, commented: “Positive signs for the UK property market and it would seem that the previous tide of low buyer demand levels spurred by Brexit uncertainty is starting to turn.

An uplift in buyer sentiment was always likely to materialise as we enter the busiest selling period of the year and this growing demand is pushing asking prices up, driven by the more affordable front runners such as Wales and the Midlands.

It is likely that this positive movement in asking price trends should filter down to the rest of the market as the year goes on, but sellers should remain aware that these are still tough market conditions, and pricing based on current market data is essential when looking to secure a smooth sale.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: "While we tend to view London as a separate market to much of the UK already, the current landscape in the capital is clearly fragmented and there are three or four more granular levels at play.

What we are currently seeing across the London property market is a 'three-speed' dynamic with outer, more affordable areas doing one thing, the prime market another and the ‘regular’ market doing something different again.

The top end of the market may take solace from a recent bump in the value of their homes, adding on average £74,700 to their notional bank balance, however, it is important to note that there is still a decent sized gap between asking prices and selling prices.

That said, the signs are, here at the coal-face, that at last we are seeing increased activity from potential buyers with applicant registrations up quite significantly year on year and as a result, we are now seeing the bottom of the London market."

May 19

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May 19

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May 19

The latest data and analysis from UK Finance has revealed that first-time buyer numbers saw a 2.4% drop during March when compared to the same period last year, prompting some to wonder if overcautiousness in the market is here to stay?
There were 28,800 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in March 2019, 2.4% fewer than in the same month in 2018 - the first year-on-year decrease in first-time buyers since September 2018. There were 25,280 homemover mortgages completed in the month, 6% fewer year-on-year.
Remortgages, however, saw a year-on-year increase, with 16,810 new remortgages in March 2019 - 9.1% more than in the same month in 2018. For these remortgages, the average amount taken out in March was £55,700.
Additionally, 15,030 were simple pound-for-pound remortgages (with no additional borrowing), 1.1% fewer than in March 2018. In total, there were 4.1% more residential remortgages in March 2019 than in the same month a year earlier. This is the twelfth consecutive month of year-on-year growth in remortgaging, as a number of fixed-rate deals come to an end and borrowers continue to lock into attractive rates.
Buy-to-let continues to be affected by tax and regulatory changes, reducing 9.1% year-on-year to 5,000 transactions in March 2019. There were 14,400 remortgages in the buy-to-let sector, 3.9% more than in the same period last year. While buy-to-let house purchase activity continues to contract, buy-to-let remortgaging has increased year-on year for the second month in a row.
As ever, the property industry was quick to react. Here's what they're saying:
Daniel Hegarty, CEO and Founder of online mortgage broker, Habito, comments: "It's clear that Brexit weighed heavily on buyers' confidence in March - with a 6% drop in home-mover mortgages completed and 2.4% drop in first-time buyer mortgages completed year on year. That said, since the Government's Brexit deadline extension to October, we've seen many more would-be homebuyers enquiring about getting a mortgage as they're increasingly fed up of putting their lives on hold.
The rise in the number of homeowners remortgaging also shows just how much people are looking to get control of their home finances while we're in uncertain economic times. With bank competition meaning that rates remain competitive for longer-term fixes, it's no wonder people are looking to switch deals and lock in lower monthly repayments for 5, 7 or even 10 years."
Adrian Moloney, Sales Director at OneSavings Bank says: “Brexit is a drag on housing market activity, and the buy to let market is no exception. Political and economic uncertainty is accentuating the structural changes we have seen in the buy to let space, and many landlords are sitting on their hands ahead of making long-term investment decisions.
Whether more will be tempted into purchase decisions by falling house prices remains to be seen; for committed landlords with capital, falling house prices in London and the South East could provide a buying opportunity, with higher yields, in spite of the uncertain political backdrop. Nonetheless, remortgaging continues to be the key source of activity, as landlords seek to protect their margins in the face of higher taxation and running costs, locking into the financial security of longer-term fixed rates.”
Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, had this to say: “The picture presented by the figures from UK Finance this morning is one of continuing uncertainty. When you consider that even the number of first-time buyers has fallen below the level a year earlier, it is clear that the view, presented in the Bank of England’s latest inflation report, that housing has stagnated since the referendum continues to be the case.
Although consumer confidence is on the rise as real wage growth is now keeping pace with inflation, the same cannot be said when it comes to larger purchases and commitments associated with housing. It was interesting to note, again in the inflation report, that house price growth is also predicted to fall over the next year not just because of a lack of demand and but also due to a surfeit of supply in some areas.
In other years we might have expected our continued need for rental accommodation to keep the buy-to-let sector buoyant, but with changes to regulation and a reluctance by some to make any further investment until our future with the EU is more certain, this is definitely not the case. The plain fact of the matter is that our market will continue to suffer until things are sorted with the EU.”
John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart said: “Today’s UK’s Finance Mortgage Trends Report reveals that after some of the highest levels in years, first time buyer mortgages actually fell for the first time since September last year, while homemover mortgages were down 6 per cent.
Remortgaging, however, saw another rise, with 9.1 per cent more completed in March 2019 than in same month last year. And when you bear in mind that ay the end of 2018, we hit the highest rate of remortgaging in a decade, we can see that this area of the market really is the driving force at the moment.

I said at the end of 2018 that there would probably be another dip in home mover activity at the start of 2019 and that remortgaging would remain strong, and this is what has happened.
The purchasing market has been tough for some time now, and I don’t think it is going to get much better until the wider market forces change, and with no real idea what is going on with Brexit, it is hard to predict when that might happen. But with the ongoing threat of a rate rise on the cards, people will be fixing now to avoid any nasty surprises down the line, so this will account for some of the remortgaging rise.
Also, when purchasing is down, brokers start to focus more on their remortgaging business - which they should be doing anyway – and this will almost certainly have had an impact.”
Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, says: "Purchases are down, which is no surprise, as many people are still putting decisions on hold. Remortgaging is up as those who bought before stamp duty hikes were introduced in 2016 are now remortgaging their fixed rates onto another competitive deal. Borrowers are taking out longer-term fixes, on residential and buy-to-let deals, as they protect themselves from wider uncertainty.
Encouragingly, there isn’t a huge amount of additional debt being borrowed by those remortgaging, suggesting that the situation is not dire with people desperately trying to consolidate debt as they remortgage. The long-term worry is that if interest rates rise, affordability will be an issue, but it doesn’t look as if rates are rising anytime soon.
On the buy-to-let side, purchase numbers are down but investors are looking at alternative ways of funding their purchase which aren’t reflected in these figures. On the specialist lending side, we are seeing an increase in investors looking at bridging loans in order to refurbish a property and add value before remortgaging onto a standard buy-to-let further down the line."
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, comments: "Although at first glance these numbers are a bit disappointing, they put the activity of the past few months into context. They reflect what we are seeing at the coalface - in other words, it is a bit busier one month but down the next and then up again. There are no significant movements one way or the other.
We are continuing to see more buyer interest but properties must show real value and opportunity otherwise they are getting left on the shelf. It is no surprise either that buy-to-let mortgages are continuing their downwards trend as landlords face an onslaught of tax and regulatory changes with more on the way. We are finding buy-to-let remortgaging increasing is down to properties having to work harder in order to maintain profit levels so this is likely to continue."
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, had this to say: "The decrease in number of first-time buyers after continuous growth over the past six months is a concern, and let’s hope it is just a blip in the numbers. First-time buyers are so important for the overall health of the housing market, ensuring transactions further up the chain can happen.
Remortgaging goes from strength to strength as borrowers come to the end of fixed-rate deals and quickly hop over onto another competitive rate. There is so much uncertainty out there, and mortgage rates are so cheap, why wouldn’t you? Buy-to-let remortgaging is also strong as landlords make the most of their portfolios and ensure they maximise as much profit as possible. The number of landlords adding to their portfolios, or investing for the first time, has inevitably fallen again due to the tough tax and regulatory changes which have hit the sector."
Conor Murphy, CEO of Smartr365, comments: “Rising year-on-year remortgage activity is encouraging in the context of a struggling housing market, as many homeowners opt to secure a long-term, low-rate deal rather than moving home.
Whether a first-time buyer or a mortgage-holder for several years, it’s important that borrowers seek expert advice from advisers who can ensure they access the best deal for their situation. It’s also essential that advisers operate as efficiently as possible to provide a high quality service to these borrowers. By using technological solutions to reduce time spent on admin processes, re-keying and verifying information, this will let them focus on the most essential aspect of the mortgage process – advice.”
Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, added: “Interest rates on mortgages remain near their record lows and with increased innovation from the mortgage market and ongoing support from schemes like Shared Ownership, thousands of first-time buyers are stepping onto the housing ladder.
This is welcome news, but for would-be buyers who might not be sure of where to start in the mortgage market or even those looking to remortgage to a better deal, it’s important to consider speaking with an independent mortgage adviser. Through their extensive knowledge of the market and with access to an extensive range of products, these professionals can advise borrowers on the different options available and which lenders are most likely to cater to their unique needs. Borrowers might be surprised by just how many options there are!”

May 19

The latest figures released by LSL and Acadata have shown that despite average house prices seeing their second monthly fall in succession during April, the market continues to inch forward.

House Prices April 2019

Peter Williams, Chairman of Acadata and John Tindale, comment: "In April, the average house price in England & Wales fell by a modest -£180, or -0.1%, to £302,122. This was the second month in succession that average prices have fallen marginally, although in March the price fall was even less, at -£72. Indeed, over the last twelve months the movement in prices from one month to the next has been relatively subdued, with a maximum growth rate of ±0.6%. Thus the change in the average price over the last twelve months totals a relatively minor +£690, or +0.2%, suggesting that all is quiet on the housing front.

However, the national picture of a flat housing market obscures the movements that have been taking place at regional level. England can be divided into distinct areas, with four southern regions all experiencing falling prices. In contrast to this, Wales, the Midlands and the north of England (with the notable exception of the North East) are experiencing rising prices, with the likes of Merseyside and the West Midlands conurbations seeing price growth of +5.1% and +4.2% respectively. At the same time, Greater London prices are falling by -1.1%.

The Housing Market

The latest Bank of England Inflation report (May 2019) provides ample corroboration of the trends Acadata has been reporting on for some months now. Commenting on the slow-down in house prices (according to the Bank the slowest rate of inflation since 2013), the report links this to Brexit related uncertainty, affordability constraints, policy impacts on Buy-to-Let and the increase in housing supply. The Bank suggests that house price inflation and housing investment growth “are expected to fall further in the near term”, but that “both are expected to pick up as headwinds from uncertainty dissipate and stronger income growth supports the demand for housing”. Clearly, much depends on an early resolution to Brexit, and although there does seem some renewed momentum, the “near term” could be some while yet.

However, there are a number of positives. First time buyer activity is strong, supported by the Bank of Mum and Dad alongside Help-to-Buy, and in the context of a contracting Buy-to-Let market. The Residential Landlords Association is reporting that a quarter of its members were planning to sell at least one property in the next 12 months. The lending market has moved from funding for purchases to re-mortgages. These changes have allowed more FTBs to enter the market and to negotiate lower prices in the absence of stronger competition. It is clear from a number of market commentaries that sellers in some regions, notably London, are dropping prices in order to secure early sales. However, as we explain later, only a minority of boroughs are showing increases in transactions at this stage.

From a government perspective, this puts continued pressure on the issue of the future of Help-to-Buy. It is evident that thought is now turning to alternatives in order to maintain the forward momentum in the market, and to prevent the build-up of negative sentiment towards the government in the housing arena. In addition, of course, there is the question of Stamp Duty income. The latest statistics show this has been falling, reflecting the market conditions discussed above - though it is also the result of taking Wales out of the statistics since a new system has been put in place there. Interestingly, only 65% of transactions were then reported as liable for Stamp Duty in the first quarter of 2019, reflecting the rise in the number of exempt first time buyers.

All-in-all, the market continues to present a complex and changing landscape which requires the kind of detailed analysis and assessment presented here. Top-line data about overall trends will not necessarily be mirrored in many localities.

Housing Transactions

In April 2019, there were an estimated 64,000 transactions – based on Land Registry counts for England & Wales – which is a -10% fall on our estimated March total of 71,000 sales. However, a seasonal fall in sales volumes of -8.8% would be expected in April, based on data for the last eight years (excluding 2016), so the decrease of -10% represents a relatively minor -1% reduction in transactions on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Indeed the estimated 64,000 sales in April 2019 are +4% higher than one year earlier, suggesting that the market is growing - albeit slowly.

May 19

The latest analysis of the UK property market by Zoopla takes a look at where you can expect to sell your home in the least amount of time in Britain.

The property portal has been crunching the numbers and found that the average property in the UK takes 56 days to go under offer from when first listed.

But where can you sell your home in less time?

According to the data, Edinburgh and Falkirk are host to the fastest moving property markets in Britain, with homes listed for sale in the areas taking an average of just 27 days to go under offer, compared to the British average. Zoopla also analysed home sales in the top 50 biggest towns to identify the most commonly sold property type and average price in each location.

With regards to the fastest moving property markets, Glasgow is in third place where properties go under offer in an average of 31 days. Elsewhere in Scotland, Stirling is in fourth place (32 days); and heading down to Wales, Cardiff is in fifth place (37 days). On a regional level, Scotland and the West Midlands are both home to the speediest property markets with the average ‘for sale’ listing going under offer in 42 and 46 days respectfully. Homes in Blackpool take the longest to go under offer, with a relatively slow average of 71 days, one day longer than property in London.

When it comes to the most commonly sold property type, in Manchester a three bedroom semi detached property is the most sought after, with the average price of a three bed semi in the city being £196,514. In Bristol, a three bedroom terraced house is the most commonly purchased, selling for £280,851 on average. In London, two bedroom flats top the list, with the typical two bed flat priced at £610,439.

Annabel Dixon, spokesperson for Zoopla comments: "Despite widespread reports of a subdued housing market, Brits may be surprised that it takes less than two months for the average British property to go under offer from the date it was first listed for sale.

The key is to get your pricing correct, meaning the best way to sell your home quickly is to ask for its true value given the current market. Overpriced homes won’t shift and may have to be discounted and on the flip side nobody wants to sell for less than their property is worth.

Zoopla is a great place to start. It provides estimates of how much every home is worth in the UK and our AgentFinder tool can put sellers in touch with agents who know the local market inside out.

It’s important to state that wherever in the country you are buying, it will pay dividends to get your finances and paperwork in good order ahead of time.

Buyers outside Scotland should also ask the seller’s agent to take the property off the market once their offer has been accepted to help pave the way for a smooth transaction."

May 19

Investing in buy-to-let is a huge responsibility and as the number of people living in rented accommodation is set to rise further, demand for new landlords has never been higher.

Due to the ever changing minefield that is landlord legislation, it is vital that those stepping into the sector for the first time are up to speed on the latest requirements and legal obligations. Bearing this in mind, ARLA Propertymark has put together some top tips for new landlords to set them on the right track.

Do you need a licence?

Depending on which local authority your property sits in, you may need to apply for a landlord licence before you can legally rent it out. This system is in place to ensure all properties are maintained to a high standard, and although it was introduced in 2006, it hasn’t been adopted by all local authorities, so it’s worth checking if you need one.

Preparing your property

Get to know the area your property is in. Is it in a student area, near commuter links or suitable for a family? If you’re near a university, you should probably furnish the property, whereas if you’re near commuter links, you’re more likely to have a young professional or a family who may own furniture already.

You should consider if the kitchen or bathroom need to be updated, whether the floor coverings or blinds or curtains need replacing, and if the overall décor needs an overhaul. Some improvements don’t have to cost the earth but will make the property more attractive to prospective tenants. Other small things you could consider include installing USB plug sockets throughout the house, replacing lamp shades and ensuring the doorbell works.

Finding suitable tenants

As a landlord, you will need to reference new tenants to check they will be able to meet monthly rent payments. An ARLA Propertymark Protected agent will be able to help you with these checks, which include credit eligibility, affordability, employer checks and any references from previous landlords. You are also legally obliged to confirm prospective tenants have the right to lawfully live in the UK through Right to Rent checks under the Immigration Acts 2014 and 2016.

Putting a contract in place

It isn’t a legal obligation to have a tenancy agreement, but it is strongly advised and best practice. A contract protects you, your property and your tenants from anything which you may disagree on such as rent payments, the deposit, length of tenancy, who lives there, whether your tenants are allowed to keep pets and how the property and anything inside it should be treated. Your agent will help you produce a legally binding contract that all parties should sign before the keys are handed over.

Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)

If you’re taking a deposit from your tenants, it must be protected in one of the Government-authorised TDP schemes. There are three available – Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). You will need to protect the deposit within 30 days of receiving it and provide your tenants with the Deposit Protection Certificate and completed Prescribed Information, and the Government’s How to Rent guide.

If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to evict your tenant and you might be ordered to return the full deposit and be given a fine of up to three times the value of the deposit. In order to support any proposed deductions from the deposit at the end of the tenancy, it is best practice that an Inventory and Schedule of Condition are completed at the beginning and end of the tenancy for comparison. Taking photographs is a further safeguard.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Your property must be at least EPC band E before letting it out, and you have to serve your tenants with an EPC. If you arrange a tenancy without ensuring your property is up to these standards, you could be fined up to £4,000.

Safety checks

It’s your responsibility to ensure the property is safe for your tenants, and as a part of this, you are legally required to get all gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer every year. You must then provide tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the annual check taking place.

You also need to ensure there are working smoke alarms fitted on every storey of the property from the start of the agreement, and carbon monoxide detectors must be in any room where solid fuel is used – both alarms must be tested on the first day of the tenancy. Though not compulsory, it’s recommended to install carbon monoxide detectors where gas appliances are present.

Maintaining the property

You should open a line of communication for your tenants at the start of any agreement. If you have an agent managing the property on your behalf, ensure contact details have been exchanged and if you’re managing it yourself, be clear about the best way to reach you, and how long they can expect to wait for a response on both basic repairs and more urgent issues.


Although it’s your property, it’s illegal and classed as trespassing if you enter the property without your tenants’ permission. Best practice is to give them 24- or 48-hours’ written notice, and this should be stipulated in the tenancy agreement. If you don’t receive a response, you shouldn’t enter the property.

Landlord insurance

You risk invalidating your buildings insurance if you don’t inform your insurer that you’re renting the property out. Most standard policies don’t provide the protection you require as a landlord, so it’s worth taking out specialist landlord insurance. A good policy will cover loss of rent, damage, legal expenses and liabilities.

Peter Savage, President, ARLA Propertymark comments: “Whether you’ve just bought your first BTL, or you own 50, you are governed by the same rules, and with more than 145 pieces of landlord legislation, it’s worth getting up to speed with the basics before marketing your property. Failure to do so can result in tens of thousands of pounds in fines and potential prison sentences, but by working with a professional ARLA Propertymark Protected agent, you can rest assured that you’re compliant.

Letting your property is a big deal, and a big decision, both for you and the tenants that will be living there, so it’s really important you understand and appreciate what it entails before you start.”

May 19

The latest data released by Halifax has shown that average house prices rose by 1.1% in April, clawing back some of the ground lost after a fall of 1.3% in March.

Halifax reports that house prices in the three months to April were up 5.0% when compared to the same three months a year earlier and 4.2% higher than in the preceding three months. The lender found that the noteworthy rise of 5% in April’s annual change figure comes against the backdrop of a particularly low growth rate over the corresponding period in 2018, impacting year-on-year comparisons.

Halifax adds that this also factored in a notably high growth figure recorded in February, driven by a higher volume of London sales and more expensive new build properties.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “The average UK house price now stands at £236,619 following a 1.1% monthly rise in April, as demand and supply of housing remained subdued for another month.

The index has seen a weaker pace of growth over the last three years, which is consistent with the easing of transactions volumes and housing market activity reflected in RICS, Bank of England and HMRC figures.

Looking further back, this April also marks 10 years since the lowest point of the Halifax house price index following the financial crash in 2008. Over the past decade annual house price growth has seen the average price increase by £81,956, or an average rise of 4.3% each year.”

As ever, the property industry was quick to react. Here's what they're saying:

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, had this to say: "These numbers are encouraging, reflecting that people are now coming to the conclusion that whatever will be will be with Brexit and they just want to get on with things. There is a positive attitude out there from estate agents to valuers to lenders - everyone is busier with transactions, just as you would expect for this time of year.

Those people who have been looking to buy for a while are now realising that the opportunity to move now is as good as any. Mortgage rates are extremely low and interest rates are unlikely to rise anytime soon, even though Mark Carney has been warning that it could happen in the future. Longer fixes are looking attractive for those families who need to move on and want some security from potential rate rises in a few years.

When we get to October and Brexit looms again, transactions will probably fall off again as jitters return. But for now, with Brexit kicked into the distance, people are transacting and getting on with their lives."

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, adds: "The Halifax survey is always respected, not least because of its longevity and breadth of coverage. These numbers are no exception but confirm what we are seeing at the coalface - a spring bounce but not as great as we might have expected.

The market is quite volatile, bearing in mind the fall in prices last monthThe price increases recorded are probably more to do with shortages of stock and lower transactions than sustainable market strength."

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: "The lack of supply and properties coming to the market is most likely continuing to support property prices, while cheap mortgage rates continue to attract those who are ready to take the plunge."

Lucy Pendleton, founder and director of James Pendleton estate agents, commented: “The blistering volatility of this index has returned as the Halifax house price weather vane spins itself into a frenzy once more.

The index has already come under scrutiny this year after months of erratic monthly growth figures. These can be more sprightly than the smoothed annual and quarterly numbers, but even so, they’ve been turning heads with the extremes with which they have been moving.

This time it’s the turn of quarterly and annual growth figures, which have leapt up. By this measure for April, the housing market is still comfortably making money for homeowners in real terms.

One explanation for ricocheting growth figures like this is persistently low stock levels. In sought after areas, this can lead to demand being supercharged one minute and gone the next, with price rises coming in waves as brief competitions for limited numbers of homes come and go. Even so, the Halifax index’s behaviour so far in 2019 has been unusual to say the least.”

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “Positive reading for the UK market and while a slightly erratic rate of annual growth may not be proof that we are out of the woods just yet, it certainly does demonstrate the much healthier position we find ourselves in now when compared to this time last year.

To say that demand for housing has subsided is misleading and not only have transactions remained consistent throughout the start of the year, but buyer demand remains prevalent, albeit more selective than it may have been previously.

Where the property market is concerned, London has been the driving force behind the recovery of the financial crash and while the capital may have paused for breath at present, it still offers by far the best investment options when looking at the UK market and will continue to do so moving forward.

Shepherd Ncube, founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, said: “We’ve now seen three consecutive months of positive quarterly and annual price growth and these more long-term indicators of market health suggest momentum is again starting to build across the UK property sector.

While current market conditions may not be ideal they certainly could be worse and ten years on from the market lows of the financial crisis it's important to remember this. When considered in this context, Brexit and the resulting market uncertainty has been a mere blip during an otherwise impeccable recovery for the UK market.

As we enter the spring and summer selling seasons this momentum will continue to build and regardless of how and when we leave the EU, the market will remain robust and continue to thrive despite all that’s thrown at it.”

May 19

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