Brexit has not affected housing markets in large regional cities in the UK

With a lot of experts and commentators talking about Brexit having an adverse impact on the British property market, the latest index suggests it is having a limited direct effect on housing in key regional cities.

The index report from Hometrack says that the impact of the decision to leave taken in June 2016 has been limited and regional housing markets appear to be shrugging off any uncertainty.

Six of the UK’s largest cities have recorded year on year growth figures over 6% with Leicester up 7.7%, Edinburgh up 7.4%, Manchester up 6.3%, Birmingham up 6.2%), Nottingham up 6.1% and Liverpool up 6%.

New research included in the report finds that the discount between asking and achieved prices continues to narrow across regional cities and has fallen below 2% in Manchester while reaching a five year low in Liverpool. Sales volumes continuing to keep pace with new supply in regional cities, supporting price growth.

Since the Referendum vote in June 2016, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester have all registered house price growth of 15%, almost three times the growth in average earnings. In contrast house prices in London are less than 2% higher than in June 2016.

London is currently registering a year on year fall in house prices of 0.4%. The report concludes that the marked slowdown in market activity since 2015 has been primarily a result of weaker market fundamentals with Brexit uncertainty a compounding factor to weaker market activity.

Stretched affordability, multiple tax changes since 2012 and new mortgage regulations have all combined to constrain demand for housing across the market and push London house price inflation into negative territory. Cambridge down 1.1% and Aberdeen down 2.8% are the only other cities to be registering year on year price falls.

‘Two and a half years on from the Brexit vote, our analysis reveals a limited direct impact from Brexit uncertainty on the housing market thus far. Large regional cities continue to register above average house price inflation with the discount between asking and sales prices narrowing on rising sales volumes,’ said Richard Donnell, insight director at Hometrack.

‘London led the housing recovery since 2009 and now it is leading the slowdown as weaker market fundamentals. Stretched affordability, multiple tax changes, new mortgage regulation have constrained demand and reduced sales. While the uncertainty from the Brexit vote has compounded this reduction in London house price growth it hasn’t been the root cause,’ he explained.

‘In the very near term we expect market trends to continue until the outlook becomes clearer. Housing markets in regional cities certainly appear to be in more of a business as usual mode while the London market continues to adjust though modest price falls. Our lead housing indicators suggest no imminent deterioration in the outlook for prices or levels of market activity,’ he added.

According to Kevin Roberts, director of the Legal & General Mortgage Club, house prices continue to rise at more sustainable rates across the country, but strong economic hubs and good transport links continue to provide first time buyers and growing families with better value for money in the North of England.

‘That said, the housing crisis isn’t over. Affordability issues have not gone away and saving for a deposit remains one of the largest barriers to home ownership. The good news is that there is more choice than ever before in the mortgage market,’ he pointed out.