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John Elliott, Managing Director of Millwood Designer Homes looks at the major milestones and property market highlights for 2017.

2017 has been an interesting year in many ways, with a range of factors affecting the UK property market.

Following the Brexit result of 2016 and entering into a snap election, it seemed confidence amongst homebuyers had fallen to the lowest level in years. The UK housing market has come under a lot of scrutiny this year, however I have remained consistently confident that not only will the Prime Minister obtain a good deal in the exit from Europe, but also that this will not have a negative effect on the property market. I believe, the UK has a very strong and growing home grown housing market and the high demand for new homes continues to keep the market buoyant.

Although we unfortunately witnessed the first increase in interest rates in a decade, I think this came down to being realistic for the wider economy. For individuals, hopefully this should not make much of a difference, with many mortgages and loans not expected to see immediate impact.

The shortage of supply of new homes continues to underpin the market, particularly in the mainstream mid and lower end, however there has been an abundance of good news in the new build sector this year. Both the Prime Minister and Chancellor seem fully committed to supporting making the ‘dream of home ownership a reality for all generations’.

Going into the New Year, this is an incredibly crucial moment for the property market and spirits need to remain high. The extension to the Help to Buy scheme is excellent news and will continue to help not only first-time buyers but also ‘second steppers’ keeping the whole of the property ladder active. This teamed with the abolishment of the stamp duty land tax for first-time buyer purchases up to £300,000 will certainly have a significant effect on the lower end of the market and help many first-time buyers onto the ladder.

When looking back at the property market this year on a regional basis, price growth has steadily increased outside of London and in Millwood’s heartland Kent and Sussex, buyers are continuing to benefit from the value gap between London its surrounds. The outlook for the Home Counties remains upbeat with plenty of development and investment in key areas, such as Maidstone in Kent. Kick-starting regeneration in such locations will continue to benefit buyers, who will be able to take advantage of the favourable market conditions.

This year, sales have remained steady at Millwood and we have launched a number of new developments across Kent, Sussex and Surrey which are selling extremely well.  We have ended 2017 with around 64% of our target sales achieved for June 2018 year end – a considerable achievement.  I am extremely enthusiastic about all of the new sites we have coming up in 2018 and am sure our loyal and new customers will be too. On behalf of everyone at Millwood, I would like to wish everyone a prosperous year ahead, I am very much looking forward to seeing how the property market will fare in 2018.