Nick Churton from Mayfair Office takes a look at the property year and considers what may have a positive or negative effect next year.
As 2014 draws to a close and we look forward to the New Year there is much to think about in the property market. In most regions it has been a generally good year overall with a fine start but a quieter finish. Price gains have slowed considerably and the heat has certainly come out of the market. There is not the frenzied buying now that there was this time last year. Even central London has cooled off.
Each year we seem to experience events that rock the housing market to greater or lesser extents. This year the heavy rains that flooded the Somerset Levels at the end of last winter had a marked effect on that region. The highly successful Commonwealth Games in Glasgow during the summer caused a small lull as attention was drawn elsewhere for a couple of weeks. And, staying with the Scottish theme, it was the Scottish referendum that had the single greatest effect on the market across the entire United Kingdom, as both buyers and sellers all seemed to hold their collective breaths for a month or more before the vote.
In the end it was all right and soon the property market was back to normal. But these events only serve to highlight how susceptible the market is right now to both local and national events.
No doubt the future will have a few surprises for us in 2015 also – in addition to those events we already know will affect the market such as the general election. This election more than anything else, short of a national or international disaster, will define the property market next year. Our minds will be on the ramifications of any new ruling party or coalition. The move to greater devolution and regional control has yet to make itself felt. So too have big infrastructure projects like rail links and new roads which can have such an effect on local property prices.
But we estate agents are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new property website late in January. We think it will completely change for the better the way people search for houses. It is called OnTheMarket. Look out for it. We are going to tell you more about this next year.
Meanwhile all of us at Mayfair Office wish you a happy Christmas and a far from rocky New Year.