Home Front logoHappy New Year and welcome to my first column of 2017.  After a year of political surprises and economic uncertainty I don’t believe there will be extensive house price inflation in 2017 and the number of transactions will remain steady; according to a survey undertaken by members of the NAEA almost half (43 per cent) of member agents expect prices to stay the same during the next 12 months. As house price inflation stalls, first time buyers should find it easier to enter the market. Encouragingly, almost a third (29 per cent) of NAEA agents think sales to the group will increase. While help for FTBs is currently focused on new builds, resales requiring some refurbishment are better value for money in the long term. Mark Hayward the Managing Director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said: “It would be an understatement to say 2016 has not gone as expected. However, the property market is mostly still feeling the effects of events which happened last year. The high end London property market is suffering at the hands of increased stamp duty taxes, and while Brexit uncertainty definitely hasn’t helped repair this, it’s not the sole reason why London’s more expensive properties aren’t being snapped up at the same speed they were. This year, we expect it’ll be more of the same; there won’t be a ‘property Armageddon’, but things won’t get much better for first time buyers, and those looking to up or down-size.” Marks comments are the voice of the London Estate Agent and pretty much sums up my personal prediction for the next twelve months and yes it’s not the most exciting New Year forecast but it’s certainly an authentic one. My message is loud and clear, hang in there, it won’t be the easiest of years but it certainly won’t be the worst we have encountered either. It will be trying at times but as I have said multiple times in the past stay open to advice from your property professional when it comes to buying or selling, or even renting. And be flexible, people will always have to move – remember that, so deals will always be done sometimes just a little lower than your previous expectations. Here’s to an optimistic 2017.