There is a 'window of opportunity' for first time buyers in the New Year, as a direct result of the slow down of the property market, claims a property expert.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: " “As we look ahead to 2019, there’s a fog of uncertainty. Brexit is undoubtedly fuelling a sense of apprehension in the housing market, which in turn affects sentiment.
"With details of the final deal still unknown, both buyers and sellers will continue to hold off on making any decisions. However, this slowdown presents a window of opportunity for first-time buyers who will find more affordable properties, granting them greater bargaining power."
Looking ahead to activity in the New Year in general, he added: “We usually see demand spike in the first few months of the year, but the landscape will probably be very different in 2019 as buyers sit on the fence and adopt a ‘wait and see’ strategy until the Brexit deal is complete."
Propertymark asked its members to share their predictions for the private rented sector, and for the buying and selling market in 2019.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark said that two thirds of letting agents think rent prices will rise next year, at 65 per cent that is six per cent more than said the same last year, when considering 2018.
More than half think demand will continue to rise, but over three quarters (78 per cent) think the number of landlords operating in the private rented sector will decline next year, as they are driven out by rising costs. In line with this, 67 per cent expect landlords’ taxes to rise again.
Mr Cox added: “The PRS has undergone a tsunami of change over the last few years, and there are difficult times ahead with the tenant fees ban expected to come into effect next year.
"With all the new legislation landlords have faced over the last few years, they have found themselves either being pushed out of the market or forced to pass rising costs on to tenants – a trend which we’ll continue to see next year.
“However, looking further ahead, we firmly believe that the industry will come out stronger, more professional and better respected at the other side. The best landlords and agents will adapt and survive to the new circumstances, keeping the PRS afloat.”
Predictions for the buying and selling market from Mr Hayward include that almost half (43 per cent) of estate agents expect house prices to fall next year, as 39 per cent think supply will increase and 35 per cent think demand will drop.This is driven by uncertainty over Brexit, with almost half (46 per cent) of agents agreeing that a no-deal Brexit will have a negative impact on the housing market.
As homeowners put off plans to move in light of Brexit, almost two thirds (62 per cent) of estate agents think the trend of renovating rather than moving will continue in the New Year.