Brexit has been hanging over our heads for three and a half years and every time an end is in sight, it disappears again. It’s a frustrating time for us all, but if you’re looking to buy or sell a home, the uncertainty is almost painful.
Many people feel that it’s not a good time to buy a new home, especially after warnings that a No Deal Brexit could send property prices plummeting by as much as 33 per cent. The thought of owning a home that is worth considerably less that you paid for it is not an appealing one.
And the ever-growing uncertainty about what will happen has had a real effect, especially this year. At the beginning of 2019 we were expecting to leave the EU on March 31, so a lot of people put property plans on hold to see what would happen. Of course, this date then moved to October 31, and has now moved again to January 2020.
In this time house prices have been in a sort of limbo, with growth at 0.7% for the year. It’s no surprise, then, that homeowners have been finding a way around all the uncertainty. Never mind whether Britain will leave or remain, people are choosing Remain when it comes to their homes.
Remain, not leave
A survey by Hiscox last year found that the number of people choosing to stay in their home and renovate, rather than move, has grown by more than 400 per cent in the past five years. Back in 2013, just 3 per cent of homeowners decided to improve their existing home instead of moving. That figure now stands at 15 per cent. Among younger people – millennials – it’s more than 25 per cent.
This approach is clearly less risky than buying a new home in such unpredictable times. With a little imagination, many homes can be updated, extended or repurposed to meet your needs. A home restyle project can be enormously rewarding.
Many people buy a new home because they are moving in with a partner, have a growing family, or are downsizing after children leave home. Yet there are ways to manage this without having to purchase a new home.
If you have two properties and want to combine your finances in a single home, an alternative is to keep one house and use the funds from selling the other to renovate the other. Add a bathroom, create a new master bedroom or add a home office to create the space you both need.
For a growing family, extending your current home can be a cost effective way to create additional bedrooms and living space. And for downsizers, consider sectioning off some of your home for a lodger, or even to run as a B&B. Their rent will also provide additional income.
We’re all looking forward to Brexit coming to some sort of end – although what it will look like is impossible to predict at the moment. In the meantime, you don’t have to put your life on hold. Take charge and you could get the home you want without the wait.