Using our nationwide SDL Surveying business as a barometer of activity levels in the traditional residential property market, it is clear that there has been uncertainty and hesitancy among buyers in the last few months. Having expected a slowdown in the run up to the EU Referendum, we have seen activity levels remain muted following the vote, most notably in London.
But at the SDL Group, our property services portfolio is designed to help us to thrive in unsettled times for the residential property industry.
Our SDL Auctions division, which incorporates SDL Bigwood and SDL Graham Penny, is ideally placed to bring a sense of certainty to property sales. True to form, since the vote both brands have held record-breaking auctions.
Our well-developed presence in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), as SDL Bigwood PRS & Estate Management, also flourishes when individuals choose to delay the decision to buy a home, and our portfolio of 6,000 properties under management has grown at unprecedented speed throughout this year.
In this context, it is no surprise that today’s decision by the Bank of England had begun to be considered inevitable – and that it had already been priced in to the market, with mortgage products now at rock bottom.
There seems little doubt with this weeks’ publicity that these mortgage rates will trigger remortgages and even some first-time buyer activity, with ‘Help to Buy’ continuing to prove popular. Like the rest of the industry, we welcome any move to stimulate this sort of activity.
But there is perhaps also an argument to say that today’s announcement might even contribute to this uncertainty, adding more change to an already volatile market.
Which means that our view remains the same as immediately post-referendum – that only time will tell what impact the last few months will have on the economy and the property market in the longer term. At the SDL Group we feel well-placed to capitalise, whatever the outcome.