Property agents see Brexit as biggest challenge in UK housing market

The biggest obstacle property agents in the UK currently face is the turbulent economic and political climate caused by the uncertainty and chaos surrounding Brexit, new research has found.

Some 64% of estate and letting agents see the uncertainty as the main challenge to the property market while 51% say they feel pressure to lower the fees they charge for their services.

The study by house buying firm Sellhousefast, also found that 49% of estate and letting agents believe there is presently a lack of housing stock to satisfy the growing demand from potential buyers/renters.

Given all the stages in the property purchasing process, from finding a solicitor to complete all the legal work to a qualified surveyor to conduct a valuation, 43% think the time taken from offer to completion is too long.

Contrastingly, only 21% of estate and letting agents are worried about the increased High Street competition posed from other rival agents. Slightly above, 30% presently view the housing marketing as having an insufficient number of serious buyers/renters.

The research also looked at which major changes in housing legislation estate and letting agents are most and least aware of and found that 72% were aware that a ban on tenant fees for granting, renewing or extending a tenancy is coming in England and Wales.

Some 64% are wary those properties deemed energy inefficient could face potentially heavy fines as punishment for not meeting set standards and 60% know they must now give any new tenants they manage/acquire on a letting basis a ‘how to rent’ guide.

Just half of estate and letting agents are conscious of the mortgage interest tax relief being phased out for some taxpayers and only 34% about the new minimum room size regulations implemented to prevent landlords from letting out rooms which are too small in proportion to the number of people staying/living in them.

Contrastingly, banning orders now being placed on a national database is the change in law that estate and letting agents are the least alert about at just 17%. Likewise, a small percentage of agents, 27%, acknowledge the tougher rules on mortgage financing coming into play for landlords with more than four properties.

‘For many, estate and letting agents are a focal point of contact in their quest to the find the right property to buy or rent. Most times, their professional approach and know how ensures the purchasing or letting process is carefully and diligently handled,’ said Robby Du Toit, managing director of Sellhousefast.

‘Given the apparent benefits of using housing agents, this research highlights the biggest challenges they face from their own perspective. With the unpredictable economic and political landscape post-Brexit, perhaps unsurprisingly ranking as their top concern,’ he pointed out.