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The UK property market in 2018 – what does the future hold?

  • Investors to focus on commercial instead of residential opportunities
  • Properties of the World opening new estate agency as part of future-proofing strategy
  • High returns and capital growth will remain key when it comes to favoured investments

2018 will be a key year for the UK property market. In the run-up to Brexit in March 2019, much focus will be on what property prices are doing and why. Alongside the economic impact of the Brexit process, prohibitive levels of stamp duty have dragged the property market in 2017. This has led to a drop in the number of buyers purchasing residential buy to let apartments this year, according to innovative property investment company Properties of the World.

Jean Liggett, CEO, Properties of the World

Jean Liggett, CEO, Properties of the World

Many investors have turned instead to commercial properties such as offices, hotels and care homes, which don’t incur stamp duty. Investors’ inability to offset their costs (including mortgage payments) against rental income, has also led to a drop off in investment in buy to let apartments, as it has dramatically reduced the level of available profit. 

“These changes, first brought in by George Osborne, will continue to reduce demand by investors for residential property in 2018. 

“Instead, investors will increasingly shift their focus to purchasing properties that provide them with capital growth, along with non-cyclical commercial opportunities, such as student accommodation and hotel room investment. 

“This means looking to key parts of the UK that provide high returns, such as Manchester, Doncaster, the North West and the North East.” 

Jean Liggett, CEO, Properties of the World

When it comes to capital growth, Properties of the World is projecting property price rises in 2018, though not at the same level that the market has seen in recent years.

Regional markets will fare well, with Yorkshire and the North West demanding particular attention. Stamp duty changes, Brexit and political uncertainties will all contribute to this slowing of the market. However, those will be counterbalanced by an uplift in first time buyers, with the recent stamp duty exemption announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond doing much to invigorate this end of the market. 

“2018 will be a year characterised by uncertainty when it comes to UK property investment; companies will need to prepare to weather the storm. At Properties of the World, one strand of our approach to this is to open an estate agency. Whatever occurs in the UK economy, people will need somewhere to live. As such, the estate agency arm of the business will help to future-proof the organisation while ensuring that we continue to respond to demand-led property opportunities, despite shifting priorities.” 

 With so much uncertainty hanging over the UK’s economy, it is perhaps unsurprising to see the property market slowing as we head into 2018. However, as Liggett points out, people will always need homes. The way in which those homes are provided may shift, such as the steer away from buy to let apartments that we saw in 2017, but this will in itself open up different opportunities to those with an eye on staying ahead of the market.

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