Ray Boulger: Housing transactions will pick up next year

Michael Lloyd

December 23, 2019

Housing transactions will pick up in 2020 following the Brexit bill passing through its second reading in the House of Commons according to Ray Boulger, senior mortgage technical manager at John Charcol.

MPs voted 358 to 234 in favour of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Withdraw Agreement Bill on Friday 20 December.

It will now reach the next stage in the House of Lords.

Boulger (pictured) said: “I think the key thing is that because people can now be completely confident we will leave the EU on January 31 even though there is clearly a lot of work to do.

“I think we’ll see a modest uptake in housing transactions.

“There’s pent-up demand and the uncertainty on leaving the EU or not disappears.

“And for a lot of people that’ll remove enough uncertainty for them about moving where previously they would have waited to see what would have happened.

“The mortgage market has low interest rates and a lot of uncertainty will disappear and I think that’ll be positive for the market.

“The overall result of that has to be some sort of improvement to the market in 2020.”

Boulger said that we won’t see a big impact in Q1 but expects to see a modest pick-up in activity from Q2 next year.

He added: “The signs are interest rates will remain low and therefore mortgages will stay affordable and I expect house prices to rise by about 2% or 3% over the year.

“I think the second reading takes us a stage down the road but it’s obvious what would happen after the election.

“When it comes to looking at likely interest from overseas buyers, getting rid of uncertainty is a factor, and the pound is a factor too.

“If investors believe the pound will recover further, that’s another reason why they may invest in the UK market.”

Martin Stewart, director of The Money Group, said that he believes the moment the General Election was called was when the remain option left the table.

He said: “It comes as no surprise to now see Brexit legislation escalate at speed with the backing of a Tory majority in the House of Commons.

“The Brexit whirlpool which just seems to go around in circles, is now a fast-flowing river and has given a degree of optimism to many people after months of doom and gloom.

“I doubt however we will have heard the last about Brexit – there is still a cliff edge, the no deal option is still in play and only a fool would assume we have already reached the end of the foothills of sunlit uplands.”

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