Should I move house in 2020? What to expect from the UK property market this year

Should I move house in 2020? What to expect from the UK property market this year

If you’ve been pondering a house move but have been put off by the political uncertainty in recent years, it probably feels like your life has been on hold forever.

Even if you’re a cash buyer, low transaction levels over the past 12 to 18 months may have curtailed selling your current property – even if you are willing to make the move.

All in all, the uncertainty caused by Brexit has spread deep into the property market, with prices falling in some areas alongside generally low transaction levels across the UK.

With the UK’s General Election now done, however, and an increased government majority now secured by the Conservatives, many experts believe the property market will start to move once again.

Many, though, do not.

So, should you move in 2020 or not?


Buying a house in 2020


With several key figures predicting dramatic falls in property prices if the UK were to leave the European Union without a Brexit deal – including Bank of England governor Mark Carney – both buyers and sellers have been sitting on their hands now for around three years.

First-time buyers have been waiting for a drop in prices before making their move and sellers have been monitoring the market gripped by the possibility of being forced to accept below average offers in order to shift their homes.

All of which has caused the market to grind to a halt since 2017-18.


House price forecast 2020

While predictions for the UK property market this year vary depending on who you listen to, Rightmove’s quarterly house price index, released in December, predicts modest growth in the property market this year.

Rightmove suggests the price of property coming to market in 2020 will rise by just 2%, pouring cold water on the post-election returns of confidence suggested elsewhere.

However, Rightmove did add that increased activity during the traditionally busy spring period could be likely, as buyers and sellers release some “pent-up demand” caused by years of uncertainty.

That predicted 2% rise in prices in considerably higher than current growth, which stands at 0.8% nationally.

But it remains modest and, of course, there will be regional fluctuations, too.

London and the south, Rightmove says, could experience growth as low as 1%, while northern regions could see prices growth by up to 4%.


When to move house

Buying or selling property is as much about timing as it is about pricing your property correctly or making the right offer.

Away from the uncertainty of Brexit and political confusion, buyers actually have a lot in their favour currently.

Interest rates remain low, lenders are competing for customers due to low transaction levels and there are some extremely appealing mortgage deals around.

On top of that, employment remains high and wage growth is outstripping house price growth, helping buyer affordability.

Demand, though, is outstripping supply in most areas of the UK, meaning little choice for buyers who are willing to take the plunge.


Regional trends

Rightmove’s prediction of increased growth in the Midlands and north of England in 2020 is backed up by current figures.


West Midlands

Annual price growth (to Dec 2019): 1.7%

Average property price: £224,422


East Midlands

Annual price growth (to Dec 2019): 1.9%

Average property price: £226,755


North West

Annual price growth (to Dec 2019): 3.2%

Average property price: £194,332


Yorkshire & Humber

Annual price growth (to Dec 2019): 1.8%

Average property price: £190,441


North East

Annual price growth (to Dec 2019): 1.5%

Average property price: £146,098


Things to do before you move house

Doing your research and ensuring your finances are in order is always crucial when buying a property.

It’s even more important in a tentative market.


Here are 10 things you should do before you commit to buying a property:

  1. Examine your credit score
  2. Get a mortgage agreement in principle before searching
  3. Shop around for a mortgage deal
  4. Budget for everything – not just deposit and stamp duty
  5. Be sure what you want to buy
  6. Use a good local agent who knows the area
  7. Only buy what you can afford and don’t stretch yourself
  8. Ask questions about everything when viewing
  9. Understand the potential growth in value of what you’re buying
  10. Check planning permission and building regulations if work has been done