Despite the real estate sector experiencing a number of testing circumstances over the last few months, typically portrayed as negative in the press, the view from the hiring side is quite the opposite where the number of new roles and challenges are on the increase for those forging a career in property.
First it was Brexit and its accompanying uncertainty; then came heavy charges on buy-to-let landlords and second home investors; followed by a slowdown and falling prices in London property prices. What next for the sector? A general election, of course! While all the political doom and gloom gives good headlines, the underlying facts are that the real estate sector isn’t suffering, but happily navigating its way through a period of change.
Of course, economic uncertainty creates a natural slowdown, while buyers wait for an outcome, but a recent survey by online estate agent eMoov showed that the majority of active buyers and sellers would not be changing their plans due to the general election. Life goes on and relocation is something rarely halted by the political landscape. In fact, sector experts suggest that a decisive election result either way will result in a honeymoon period surge in activity across the sector to negate the slowdown.
As for the panic over London prices, the majority of these are at a specific level across a defined central area – Coutts’s Q2 Real Estate Perspective believes that outer London will perform better than central London this year, for example. London as a whole will always be one of the most desirable places to live; its average house price is still more than double the average for the rest of the UK. So while the capital is currently seeing an older generation of large London home owners downsizing for their retirement, the knock on effect is that they are downsizing into £3m+ apartments and putting high-end stock back into the market – currently attracting foreign investment due to currency drops – movement that is very much keeping the sector busy.
Similarly, the buy-to-let surcharge hasn’t killed that arm of the sector. Its introduction led to increased activity before the deadline, then an understandable hangover afterwards as so many investors had completed their business early. But hangovers are temporary. While the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported a decrease of 26% in buy-to-let mortgages in the last year, the fact that owning a property is still out of reach to many means that tenant demand is on the increase. As a result, residential developers are still active. Outside of London, the regeneration of regional cities is making these a realistic investment target and the currently weak pound is also seeing an increase in overseas buyers searching for the quintessential English country home.
All things considered, the sector may be experiencing a changing landscape, but that is keeping it alive and well. From a recruitment perspective, finance professionals are still in demand, with the sector competing for the best top-tier candidates. If you are looking to move into this exciting sector or are keeping an eye out for your next real estate move, we have a number of current and future roles with some of the market leaders in real estate.