Will house prices fall in 2019? Our guide on when to buy or sell.

Will UK house prices crash this year and if so when? We take a look at what’s in store for the UK housing market this year

In 2018 the UK property market witnessed an increase in house prices – but only just. Statistics from Nationwide identified that over the course of the year, UK property prices were up just 0.5%.

According to the Nationwide house price index, there were five months that were lower than the one before. While Halifax and Rightmove versions saw four monthly drops.

Rightmove statistics illustrated that the number of days it took to sell a home increased from 56 days in May, to 70 days in December. Figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have been described as ‘the most negative’ seen in the 20 years since it has been reporting them.

Surveyors reported that as well as the Brexit uncertainty, domestic issues related to the lack of supply while affordability continues to affect the market.

In December, new buyer enquiries fell for the fifth month in a row and drop-off in interest from buyers was matched by a decline in fresh properties coming onto the market.

Is the worst of the property market over now, or are we looking at the start of a  house price crash?

The single biggest fear facing potential buyers and sellers is Brexit.

There are claims that if things go badly, and Britain crashes out of the EU with either no deal or a bad deal, then the fallout could devastate house prices.

Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, warned that in the worst-case scenario house prices could fall as much as 35% over three years.

The strongest concerns currently are in London and the South East, but the impact of job losses would be felt across the country if things go wrong.

The uncertainty is what is causing a lot of people to hold off on any decision making when it comes to buying a house. People want to get a clearer picture of what Britain’s future outside of the EU will look
like.

The one thing that is certain is uncertainty,” MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis explained in
December.

It has been pointed out by Estate agents and mortgage lenders that the UK has a growing population and houses aren’t being built fast enough to keep up. On top of that, mortgage rates are close to the lowest they’ve ever been which is a positive thing for first time buyers.

In fact, records show that last year more first-time buyers climbed onto the property ladder than at any time since 2006. This is thanks to schemes like help-to-buy, stamp duty discounts and lifetime ISAs combined. None of those facts have changed – Brexit or no Brexit.

Mark Readings, founder of online estate agency House Network, said: “Although political uncertainty continues to be the driving force behind a high majority of serious buyers and sellers remaining on the fence, the economic fundamentals for first-time buyers are strong as help-to-buy and low mortgage rates contribute to providing affordability.

He added: “As we move into 2019, we expect to see a slow but positive shift in the market, as supply and demand increases and confidence is regained both nationally and internationally in the UK property market.

2019 house price predictions

Experts predict that house prices will rise in 2019 by 4%.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “Despite current political upheaval, and on the basis that it is still most likely that the UK exits the EU with a form of withdrawal agreement and transition period, we expect annual house price growth nationally to be in the range of 2% to 4% by the end of 2019.

This is slightly stronger than 2018, but still fairly subdued by modern comparison. However, the
uncertainty around how Brexit plays out means there are risks to both sides of our forecast. Longer term, the most important issue for the housing market remains addressing the affordability challenge for younger generations through more dynamic house building.