To sell or not to sell?
24th February 2015

The first thing I should point out is this post expresses my personal speculations on the housing market and house prices. It is an opinion based on my 19 years in the property industry and my current understanding of the market as it is now. It is not firm financial advice, which I am not qualified to give, and as such should not be taken on its own but rather together with other opinions or research.

Right, now that’s out the way let me get on with my speculations on the housing market as it is now and later in the year.

Providing you are not being influenced in this regard by pressures outside of your control, the title question can be particularly taxing (excuse the pun) during Election year. The default state (unsurprisingly) tends to be the ‘wait and see’ technique, but is it true that ‘fortune favours the brave’ or is that just another meaningless cliche?!

One thing we know for sure right now is there is strong demand for most types of property in Northamptonshire…and inadequate levels of ‘stock’ (a reluctantly impersonal term given we are talking about people’s homes). Of course, there is usually more to consider when making a decision to sell than the principles of supply and demand. Most of those other considerations though are usually personal, family orientated practicalities rather than sober assessments of the housing market.

The problem this year with attempting to assess the post election market conditions is the difficulty with accurately trying to predict the outcome of the election in the first place. It would seem this is likely to be one of the most unpredictable of general elections with many possible outcomes not necessarily seen as possible in the past.

With this in mind it seems sensible to concentrate again on what we know with some certainty…which brings us back to straightforward supply and demand.

At Jackson Grundy we saw an average price rise of 12.7% last year, with the Office of National Statistics reporting just under 10% across the UK as a whole and 10.2 % in England. So to start with most people looking to downsize, emigrate or move into rented accommodation should be better off selling now than they were 12 months ago. Aside from this the high demand and short supply should result in a quicker sale being achieved and probably at a figure closer to asking price.

If you are a seller looking to up-size then in principle you may be worse off moving now than 12 months ago, although you may find the increase in equity favours you in terms of mortgage rates and size of deposit. If it is true that a good deal of potential movers are waiting until after the election, regardless of the financial complexities, it may be worth obtaining a property valuation now, as a surge of new property is unlikely to have an immediate effect on prices, but will have an immediate effect on the saleability of your property and the length of time it will take to sell; so in this respect it is likely to come down to a question of priorities…financial gain versus speedy move and limited disruption to your life.

As I have already mentioned, trying to predict what house prices will do post election is a tougher trick. My personal opinion is that more properties will come to the market then, but if this does happen will prices start to move downwards? The answer to this is likely to depend on how many more properties come to the market. My best guess is that the increase in stock will be enough to temporarily stem house price inflation but probably not enough, given the ongoing demand for housing, to cause a downturn in prices.

With this in mind, obtaining a valuation now is probably a good idea if you are looking to downsize, move ‘sideways’, emigrate or move in to rented accommodation. It may also be prudent if you are looking to up-size but would prefer a quicker sale process.

Ultimately though, whenever you choose to move, try to make sure you choose an agent with strong local knowledge and broad marketing.

Best of luck if you are moving this year.

Kind regards


Nick Rees