Former Prime Minister David Cameron was secretly recorded at the World Economic Forum in Davos admitting as much last week. He is reported to have said that Brexit had ‘turned out less badly than we originally thought’. That’s not to say, of course, that 2018 doesn’t face increasing challenges as the UK approaches the Brexit leaving date of March 2019. Progress with the EU negotiators has been seemingly slow and laborious, with the Prime Minister and EU representatives only recently agreeing on stage one of negotiations.
Things appear to be picking up, however, with news released this week that suggests the UK economy grew more than we had initially predicted, with a growth of 0.5% in the final quarter of the year, October to December. It was reported that the growth was heavily reliant on the progression of the country’s service sector, accounting for 79% of output, with services growing 0.6% over the same period.
Office for National Statistics head of GDP Darren Morgan, talking to the media, said: “Despite a slight uptick in the latest quarter, the underlying picture is of slower and uneven growth across the economy. The boost to the economy at the end of the year came from a range of services including recruitment agencies, letting agents and office management.”
He continued, “Other services — notably consumer facing sectors — showed much slower growth,” he said, referring to industries such as distribution, hotels, catering, transport and communications. Manufacturing also grew strongly but construction again fell.”
There was other mixed news, too, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also downgrading its growth expectations for the UK amidst Brexit uncertainty. In its latest forecast, the IMF projects growth for Britain of 1.5% next year, down from 1.6% previously.
However UK property had a special year in 2017 in comparison to the wider economy, with new projects being started across the country in a backdrop of increasing prices, higher yields and increasing rental incomes.
In city centres across England new off-plan projects were started and completed to cater for increasing demand in urban centres for rental properties. Investment across the areas has been extremely high recently and recent statistics have shown a large rise in people renting property over owning it.
There was also a report which suggests that the average age of renters was increasing too as more people find themselves looking for rental properties in city centres. The reasons for this were put down to unaffordable house deposits and a change in attitudes towards renting as ownership becomes more unrealistic.
This year is set to be a big one for the UK as we near the conclusion of Brexit negotiations and the economy continues to grow quicker than we expected. Added to that, the success of UK property and the economic background certainly would be able to facilitate another performance exceeding expectations.
If you’re interested in investing in UK property, contact us today to find out more about our fantastic opportunities.