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Is the 'don't move, improve' boom affecting property investors?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s an age-old rhetorical question that exemplifies a cyclical situation with two interlinked actions and effects. However, it’s not always clear which is driving which.

It’s very appropriate for describing the current ‘don’t move, improve’ boom and its relationship to the property market. In recent months there has been a huge surge in people carrying out home improvements rather than looking to upgrade in the property market. The desire for more space has encouraged more people to re-invest in their current property rather than chance it out there in the market. But is this boom fuelled by a lack of available and affordable housing or is it partially causing it?

With fewer homes going on sale, there is less choice. This means fewer investors can find what they are looking for and then become more tempted to improve their own property. Thus the cycle drives itself.

Planning applications for home improvements in the UK rose by 31% in the east of England between 2012 and 2016 according to Halifax. Similarly, in the first half of 2017 the number of homeowners on the move was down 2%. So it would seem clear that the ‘don’t move, improve’ motto is taking hold.

However, as always, these facts don’t tell the whole story. There is also the considerable and as yet not fully understood impact of Brexit. If there is one thing the market doesn’t like, it’s uncertainty. Faced with possible stagnation of prices, people are being more cautious and deciding to invest closer to home instead. People also know that bigger kitchens, living areas and extra bedrooms add value. So rather than gamble on a new investment, they can make a safer bet at home.

However, times when the market shows signs of slowing are often when the best investment opportunities come up. Markets fluctuate naturally and people can become prematurely cautious, accepting offers and selling when they could hold out for more. Savvy investors can use this opportunity to expand portfolios and pick up bargains, even at a time when housing is in relatively short supply.

If you’d like to know more about the regional market in the Norwich and Norfolk area, or have a chat about how the market is reacting to factors including Brexit and the home improvement boom, then our experts are always more than happy to chat. So why not give Agile a call today?

To find out more about the local and national property market, or if you would like to chat about anything to do with property investment, give us a ring on Norwich 01603 567804 or send us a message.

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