Transactions set to fall in next two years amid economic uncertainty

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has revised its housing market forecasts downwards for 2017 after a hectic year in the housing market.

The trade body says the new uncertainty “partly relates” to the EU referendum result but says there were already issues such as extra Stamp Duty and falling buy-to-let transactions due to changes on buy-to-let taxation.

It had previously forecast 1.26m property transactions in 2017, but has reduced this to 1.17m. It expects a further fall in 2018 to 1.15m.

The CML warns that the real weakness is coming from second steppers and other home movers staying put due to economic uncertainty, rather than a lack of first-time buyer activity.

Its outlook said: “As most housing transactions are discretionary, it is often the case that activity levels tend to be bear the brunt of any uncertainty, as buyers and sellers wait to get a clearer picture of where the economy may be headed. For this reason, the slowdown in transactions has been compounded by economic uncertainty, as we expected.”

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “Overall, the mortgage market remains resilient but is likely to plateau rather than grow much for the next couple of years.

“Gross lending is likely to hover around the £250bn mark in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Property transactions look set to drift down slightly, although we do not expect house prices to fall, and net lending seems unlikely to get above £30bn next year.

“The housing market is relatively well insulated from direct Brexit effects as most activity is driven domestically, but it is not immune from more generalised economic uncertainty. And we expect any modest strengthening in home-owner lending to be rather offset by a less active house purchase market in buy-to-let, as both tax and regulatory changes bite on landlords.”

Meanwhile, Jackson-Stops and Staff is also predicting that house price inflation will slow in 2017.

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff, said: “There will be no change next year to the equation that has governed the property market in 2016: demand will continue to outstrip supply, which will drive up average property prices.

“House price inflation won’t be as high in 2017 as it has been in recent years, with some buyers and lenders impacted by Brexit, global political and economic uncertainty and recent property taxes in the short term.”

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Written by: Houseladder