December is an excellent time of year to review the property market, reflecting on the trends we have seen over the last twelve months and looking forward to what the new year holds for the industry.
This year was particularly special for us, as the spring marked Thorgills’ tenth anniversary. Our Sales Director, Daniel Madden, also celebrated ten years of serving the Chiswick property market around the same time.
Our sales teams have had a particularly successful year. All our teams have sold more properties than ever before, and our Chiswick and Ealing teams have been included in Rightmove’s Best Agent Guide for 2018. Our Brentford sales team won Gold at the British Property Awards – the first time we entered this competition – and our Chiswick sales team collected a bronze at the ESTAs.
Our lettings teams have been similarly productive, expanding into the build-to-rent sector as well as a host of additional services which reinforce our position as a market-leader in West London. Our Brentford lettings team won Gold at the ESTAs and the British Property Awards, and our Ealing lettings team also picked up a Bronze at the ESTAs.
The industry as a whole has had a difficult year but recent statistics show that its recovery is well under way. The economy grew by 0.6% in the last quarter, and wages increased by 3.2% over the same period. This appears to have had a knock-on effect on the property market.
Average house prices have risen by 3.5% over the last twelve months to September, and transaction levels have also been higher. In both September and October there were over 100,000 sales nationwide, with October’s total of 102,530 making it the busiest month since July 2017. This increase in sales volume appears likely to continue and currently stands at 1% higher than last year’s level.
The lettings market remains strong in the run up to Christmas. This is largely a result of a 14% fall in mortgage approvals for buy-to-let purchases, restricting the supply of available properties. There are 8.7% fewer properties on the market, which has driven a 0.8% increase in average rents nationwide. In London, the number of available properties is down a staggering 19.4%, and the properties which do come to the market are being let four days faster than they were this time last year.
There is plenty to look forward to in 2019. The trends we are witnessing this December indicate that green shoots are starting to show in the property industry. Prices have risen for both sales and lettings over the last twelve months, and transaction levels are higher than they were a year ago.
Government policy may also cause improvements to the housing market. The full effects of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget have yet to be realised, and should lead to more new homes being built and more first time buyers climbing the first rungs of the property ladder.
The recent release of Theresa May’s draft Brexit agreement also indicates that our withdrawal from Europe is nearing its completion. Regardless of the details of our exit, in the near future the uncertainty hanging over the property industry will soon disappear.
Before all this, though, we will be working hard for our clients throughout December to ensure that they can enjoy a merry Christmas.