Why House Prices in the UK Might Rise Faster Outside of London After 2021

For several reasons, the rapid rise in residential real estate is affecting the entire country. The 2020 national election results should cheer investors in housing.

That national 2020 election is over. Now homebuyers and sellers can vote with their sterling.

In the run up to the election, politicians from all sides spoke of the nation’s housing woes. Too little supply for too much demand was the problem, most agreed, with different ideas on how to fix it. David Miliband and the Labourites bandied about a « mansion tax, » along with rental increase caps, which arguably dampened sales in London and the rest of the country in the first few months of the year. House building also dipped in early 2015, as did prices, as uncertainty kept many buyers and builders at home.

But within hours of the sweeping election results announcements, real estate agents in London were popping champagne corks. « Over the next five years we think that capital values in the Prime London residential markets could double, » said the executive director of estate agent Douglas & Gordon. An agent with Sotheby’s told The Guardian, « It is going to be an exciting to be in the London market over the summer! »

There is general agreement that much of the concern, now relief, over the mansion tax was London-centric. Price run ups there recovered much more quickly after the recession of 2008 than outside the capital city. In 2020, average house prices throughout London went up by 17.4% while in the rest of the country property values rose at 10%, still robust but obviously at a lower rate than in the capital. With sufficient market demand.

New buyers in the market might be daunted by the price hikes – or prompted to take advantage of the various Government-sponsored schemes to help them. Those include the Help to Buy programme, which was responsible for more than 70,000 home purchases in 2020. Another factor is that there is some migration of younger families out of London, where they reportedly are finding favourable quality-of-life factors in places like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Here are what the prognosticators are saying about UK home prices in the months and years to come outside of London:

• « Estate agent Savills predicts that prices will increase by 19.3 per cent over the next five years across the UK and by 10.4 per cent in London. » (Daily Express, May 8, 2015)

• On its own website, Savills predicts the following house price value increases through 2019: Midlands, North and Wales 4.0% increase; Scotland 4.0%; Wider South of England 4.5%; London prime suburbs 7.0%; London inner commute 7.0%; London outer commute 6.0%. Prime London will rise 7.0%.

• Savills predicts the following for year 2020: Midlands, North & Wales 20.4% increase; Scotland 17.5%; Wider South of England 22.2%; London prime suburbs 25.7%; London inner commute 25.1%; London outer commute 24.5%. Prime London will rise 22.7%.

This is all good for current owners, of course. Buyers, clearly on the losing end of these hikes, still have the advantage of rising wages and easier access to credit – easier than in the past several, post-recession years, that is. And for those homebuilders and financiers engaged in real asset investing (e.g., turning land into housing developments), the opportunities placed before them are considerable.

The Sotheby’s International spokesperson put it this way in an interview with « Increasing the supply of homes is the only way to truly overcome the hurdles that the housing market places for the majority of buyers, » she said. Lucian Cook, Savills UK head of residential research, said: « There remains a pressing need for substantially increased new build supply and a far more co-ordinated long term housing strategy for the UK. »

Investors can do good for society and their country by putting money into all kinds of development. But smart investing also means tapping into objective analysis. Speak with an independent financial advisor to learn what kinds of real asset investing works best in your overall wealth management scheme.

Investors such as those involved in alternative investments in UK land, and homebuilders, focused on housing delivery, should be encouraged about ramping up development.

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