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Happy New Year

Published: 01/01/2020 By Tam van Wyk

With all the Christmas paraphernalia cleared away and many of our New Year’s resolutions already broken, it means we are now in peak prediction season. Every agency, every government body and every industry group have been busy getting their crystal balls out and telling us what to expect in 2020.

As regular readers will know, I tend to be somewhat sceptical about national surveys and studies, since there are always so many local factors that need to be taken into account. But, I am delighted to say, with the elections over and a clear majority, for once, all of the main commentators are saying the same thing, that we should expect a far better, smoother ride in 2020. After so much uncertainty, there is a huge amount of pent up demand waiting to be released and, at the same time, the other key fundamentals are all in place – the economy is robust, wages are gently rising and mortgages remain remarkably cheap. There are only a couple of issues holding us back; there are still some very complex trade talks to be held with the EU and there are also some serious stock shortages, although these should ease as confidence grows.

As a result of those trade talks, I am not expecting the government to focus as much as they should on the housing market this year. It’s a shame, because there are an awful lot of issues that need urgent attention, from stamp duty reforms through to the number of landlords leaving the PRS (Private Rental Sector) and the urgent need to build more housing.

The good news is house prices should rise across the country, including in London, which is predicted to turn the corner after a prolonged period of stagnation. Rents are also likely to continue their upward march, especially in the capital, as a result of the ongoing shortage of rental property.

If you want to take advantage of all that fresh-faced optimism and are thinking of renting or selling this year, bear in mind, the spring market is likely to start early. Things can look a bit scruffy in the winter months, so everything will probably need a spot of TLC and, if you want your place to truly shine, you need to get cracking.