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Never Trust The “Experts” – British Housing Prices Up 5.2% Since Brexit

Another reminder never to listen to pundits, this time with data on UK home prices gathered over the past ten months…

In a result that surprised many, the vote on June 23 2016 resulted in a decision to leave the European Union.

The impact of the decision has been much debated, with many economists stating that the UK economy would be harmed by a decision to leave, whether that’s through a loss of cheap labour that powers the fruit picking industry or the restriction of movement for those in the Square Mile.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges with determining how the economy is performing is the ‘lag’ between the economic data being collected and the data being analysed and reported on. Take GDP growth for example, which usually reports on the performance of the past three months.

Luckily the financial markets often have an almost immediate reaction to political crisis’, and indeed fluctuations in Sterling have certainly occurred since the Brexit vote. But the financial markets don’t always reflect the state of a national economy.

Instead, the estate agent YOPA decided to check how UK home prices were doing in the wake of the Brexit vote, and the results are somewhat surprising. First, the estate agent collected and aggregated industry predictions in January 2017, and then created a Brexit house price widget to track how these predications would correlate against the actual house price changes throughout the year.

The reasoning behind creating this house price widget was that property prices are a good barometer of how an economy is doing performing, mainly because they closely correlate with consumer confidence in the economy. If you can’t afford a house, you don’t buy one. If you can’t afford a price, you lower it. This may be a very simplistic view of it, but it broadly holds true.

The industry expert predictions yielded a total gain in house prices of 1.2% throughout 2017. This would have been a modest leap, simply because house prices have typically significantly outpaced inflation. Due to various concerns about how the economy would fare and the uncertainty surrounding the negotiation process meant that these experts were generally sensible to produce lower figures.

Yet what happened was unexpected: UK home prices over the past 10 months have risen significantly – to the tune of 5.2%, according to Land Registry values. While there was an initial dip, house prices surged after April, and they kept on rising. A property worth £200,000 in January could well be worth more than £210,000 today.

UK home prices

Brexit UK home prices: Encouraging or not encouraging?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say whether this is symptomatic of the overall economy. The significant devaluation of the currency has made it easier for people overseas to buy houses, as their money is worth a lot more, and this is particularly true of London.

With talks currently stalled and the overall negotiating position unclear, investing in housing is likely to be a cautious process for the next few years as we wait to see how Brexit pans out.