2023 has been an exciting year here at AWH. We have expanded a number of our teams, bringing some very experienced experts onboard, which has allowed us to enhance and expand the services we provide.
We are also delighted that our Valuation team were awarded the “Best Surveyor” title at the 2023 B&C Awards in September. We are extremely proud of every member of the team, who have all worked very hard this year, and it means a huge amount that this hard work has been recognised by the judging panel.
When looking at the property market as a whole, 2023 has certainly been a challenging year. High mortgage rates have resulted in more people are looking for rented accommodation, causing a desperate shortage in supply and pushing rental prices up. Although mortgage rates have been coming down over the last couple of months, mortgage approvals are still very low compared to pre-Covid levels.
High rates of inflation have exasperated the challenges faced by prospective homebuyers, renters and developers alike, and although these have eased significantly, they remain above the 2% target, meaning the housing market is not out of the woods yet.
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As mentioned, this past year has certainly presented some significant challenges for the property market. With only a couple more weeks left in 2023, we now consider what we might be able to expect to see in the new year.
The impact of AI
As we touched on in a recent opinion piece around PropTech, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been gaining traction in the property market as quickly as in any other industry.
With AI’s ability to process large amounts of data very quickly, it is able to analyse trends and historical data, aiding property professionals to provide more accurate valuations, as well as enhancing many other areas of work within Building Surveying and the property market as a whole. AI is expected to continue to build on the advancements made in PropTech, and while some areas of work are likely to be made redundant through AI, the human factor is always going to a large part of what we do. Increases in automation present challenges for us all, but accepting the changes these new technologies bring will also bring opportunities we might not otherwise never have considered.
Keeping sustainability requirements at the fore
Sustainability in development is another area we have seen taking a more prominent place in recent months. With the commitment for the UK to be Net Zero by 2050, developers and landlords across the UK are having to look at how to adjust their buildings and plans to reduce emissions. We discuss some aspects of sustainability in property in recent articles.
The continued impact of high inflation
The high levels of inflation we have seen in the global economy has had a significant impact on the property market. Property sales and rentals, as well as development of residential and commercial property has been stunted by inflation since the pandemic.
While the Consumer Price index has been falling, many of the factors that affect the property market’s rate of inflation continue to soar, as we discuss in a recent blog. Unless this changes, we are likely to continue to see lower levels of development, as businesses struggle to meet the rising costs of materials and labour.
Changes in legislation
The Renters (Reform) Bill, originally introduced to Parliament back in May 2023, is still in the parliamentary process, but is currently expected to become law in the autumn of next year.
Additionally, with the Building Safety Act 2022 coming into force earlier this year, we will see the changes introduced becoming more entrenched in the development and maintenance of properties across the UK.
Optimism for the second half of the year
As it stands, most predictions are that the property market will continue to struggle for the first half of the coming year. However, figures do indicate that things are improving, albeit slowly. The expectation is that we will see mortgage rates drop towards the second half of the year, as well as seeing house prices come down slightly, although other economic factors, for example a general election, could continue to cause house buyers to delay moving.
What’s happening at AWH in 2024?
We place great value in supporting charities that to seek to improve the lives of those who may otherwise be left struggling. Our team have done some amazing work fundraising for our chosen charities this year. Members of the team took part in a variety of events, including a relay, a walk and a bike ride to raise funds for both Centerpoint and Stepney Bank Stables and we have more exciting fundraising activities lined up for 2024. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for your chance to help us impact the lives of those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
We are also looking forward to being able to continue to build up our different departments and the services they provide. With the recent additions to the Rights of Light and Building Surveying teams, we are excited about the additions to our already extensive service offering these members of staff will bring.
As the year comes to a close, we want to thank all the clients we have had the privilege to work with this year for their business and support. We look forward to working with you again in 2024 and wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year.