January Property Market Update
18th January 2024
A cautiously optimistic start to the new year unfolds as both buyer and seller activities surge. New seller asking prices witness a month-on-month increase of 1.3%, equivalent to £4,571, reaching £359,748. This marks the most substantial December-to-January price escalation since 2020, although average prices still stand 0.7% lower than the same period last year.
In the first week of the year, there’s a noticeable upswing in activity compared to a year ago, with increased confidence among prospective buyers and sellers initiating their 2024 plans promptly:
- New properties entering the market for sale have risen by 15% compared to the corresponding period last year.
- Buyer demand in the initial week of 2024 is 5% higher than the same timeframe in the previous year. However, competitive pricing from sellers remains crucial, given the surge in properties entering the market outpacing the rise in demand.
- Sales agreements have spiked by 20% compared to the first week of the previous year, signifying a robust return of buyer confidence compared to the uncertain post-mini-Budget period.
Noteworthy developments since Christmas include Rightmove experiencing nine of its ten busiest days for Mortgage in Principle requests, indicating an early indication of individuals solidifying their 2024 plans. The average 5-year mortgage rate has decreased to 4.86%, down from the July 2023 peak of 6.11%, suggesting a potentially more stable year for the mortgage market after the volatility from September 2022 onward.
The average price of properties entering the market has increased by 1.3% (£4,571) this month, reaching £359,748. Despite this, prices remain 0.7% lower than last year, emphasizing the realism among new sellers as the market recovers from volatile mortgage rates. The surge in properties entering the market and this month’s notable price increase signify increased confidence among new sellers for the upcoming year.
Rightmove’s early overview of buyer and seller activities since the year’s commencement hints at a promising outlook for those aiming to make moves in 2024, following a hesitant 2023.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, advises sellers to be cautious about setting price expectations too high, emphasizing the importance of accurate and realistic pricing, especially in the face of elevated mortgage rates and the broader cost-of-living constraints on buyers.
While it’s an early glimpse into 2024, both buyer and seller activities have surged compared to the same period last year, indicating a return of confidence. The number of potential buyers reaching out to estate agents about homes for sale in the first week of 2024 is 5% higher than last year, with the most significant growth observed in London and the North East.
The number of properties entering the market is also 15% higher than at the beginning of last year, particularly notable after a record number of sellers launched on Rightmove on Boxing Day. Although there is no surplus of homes for sale, with the total number just 1% above the more typical market levels of 2019, it is crucial for sellers to price competitively, given the rise in properties entering the market outpacing the growth in buyer inquiries.
An encouraging early sign for 2024 is the 20% increase in the number of sales agreed at the start of the year compared to the same period last year. This suggests that sellers are pricing attractively enough to entice buyers who may have been hesitant a year ago, given the uncertain outlook for mortgage rates and buyer affordability.
In the North West we saw an increase in house prices by 1.2% from November and by the same amount since December 2022 with an average time to sell at 69 days.