Conveyancing Data Services – September Reflections

CDS Sales Director, Richard Pickles shares his thoughts on UK investment and predictions for 2017.


The Sunday Times’ pull-out ‘Home’ section on 11 September was entitled “The Welcome Return of the Buyer’s Market”. If you acquired said rag, you may also have noticed our appearance in the Times/Hiscox “Tech Track 100” listing of fastest growing tech companies, something that we are all justifiably proud of at CDS.

Anyway back to the “…Return of the Buyer’s Market”. Inside was an eight-page analysis of the property market and it made for interesting reading. Mainly because not one of the ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ quoted, actually seemed to agree what the future held. These are such confusing times. I was talking to a prospective customer earlier this week (lovely chap, lovely company, I hope they come on board) and we were discussing what an historical day 23 June was! So many changes in 24 hours, Brexit, political leadership and so on. The repercussions will take time for everyone to get to grips with.

But I guess we know that!

So back to the analysis: in summary there was a predicted price growth of 2.5% this year, followed by a fall of -1% in 2017, then growth of 2% in 2018. Hence the title of the piece. 

But I’m not so sure.

This is a confidence thing. A couple of months ago I predicted that some more positive messages about the post-Brexit reality would be made in the autumn. Well, we are damn nearly in autumn now and things are starting to look a bit brighter. Many firms that said they were going to stop UK investment, have now softened their approach to one where there will be no real change as long as we still have access to the single market. With regards to this, there is a general consensus that the EU needs the UK as a trading partner as much as vice-versa. The markets, after their initial wobble, are relatively steady and the fall in Sterling means good news for our exporters. At least those who aren’t playing golf on a Friday afternoon!

So we come to the Pickles prediction: I quite agree with 2.5% growth in 2016 (remember the London market, so often the driver of price growth, has actually seen prices fall this year); I think 2017 will be more positive (and we will be more comfortable with Brexit’s implications) so expect 2% growth and then an even more positive 4% or 5% in 2018. Maybe it’s time for “Cool Britannia Mk II”. Volume-wise that would mean the market basically stalls for the rest of this year (don’t forget a load of investment purchases were synthetically brought forward by the changes to SDLT), then starts slowly growing next year, before picking up again on its normal cycle in 2018.

There you have it!

I’m also pretty pleased to report that things are starting to look better at the Local Authorities too after months of them slowing down. Generally August goes backwards in terms of TATs, so to have the averages hold steady for the last month is really good news; especially given the issues that some Authorities had: holidays and sickness coinciding and leaving them short of staff. I hope that the improvement continues into September, it should do.

The big changes were:

Gold stars to:

[table id=14 /]

So overall a pretty optimistic outlook this month. It might be steady for the rest of this year, but we should see things pick up a bit in 2017. Maybe it would help if a certain Secretary of State for International Trade focused on how good the UK is?

Have a good month.

Kind regards


Today's Conveyancer