The UK housing market continues to show signs of improvement, as more sellers price realistically to help attract potential buyers.
Average new seller asking prices increased by 1.3%, or £4,571 month-on-month to £359,748, the biggest December to January rise in prices since 2020, though average prices are still 0.7% lower than at this time last year
According to Rightmove, average new seller asking prices are still 0.7% lower than last year, highlighting that many new sellers are being realistic about their expectations as the market continues to recover from the impact of volatile mortgage rates.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent, said: “It’s premature to say whether the recent improvement in activity will translate into a strong market recovery during early 2024, but certainly the initial signs are encouraging.
“In our offices, we’ve seen a similar picture to that painted by the Rightmove survey. No New Year fireworks, but more valuations, viewings, listings and offers than this time last year.
“The mortgage rate war and improvement in lender appetite, combined with lower inflation and a strong jobs market, have helped to fuel expectations that prices may have passed their low point and more balance between supply and demand lies ahead.”
Nathan Emerson CEO Propertymark, commented: “Sellers will no doubt be happy that their homes have increased in value month on month despite the challenging economic situation.
“Serious buyers continue to complete on their homes, but what we now hope is that this increase, combined with lower interest rates could encourage those homeowners who have been holding back on their next home move due to previous economic turmoil.
“It is now vital that the UK government continues working towards reducing inflation in order to increase momentum in the market.”
Adam Feather, managing director of Robert Anthony Estate Agents in north London, said: “The latest asking price data will undoubtably please many vendors. With both both buyers and sellers being more realistic with their expectations, we expect transaction levels to increase in the coming months as the housing market starts to recover.
Chris Rowson, managing director at Sharman Quinney in Cambridgeshire, commented: “It’s certainly cold out there at this time of year, but the housing market is just heating up. We’ve had a really promising start to the year, with some very positive signs. Future sellers are getting their valuation appointments booked in, future buyers are enquiring and getting their viewings booked in and we’re also seeing really high demand for mortgage appointments, as movers seek to understand their affordability and position at the start of the year. Most importantly, we’re seeing offers being made, and a high number at that. It is early days and not a time to get carried away, but we’ve had a good start.”
Paul Bayliss, director at The Square Room Estate Agents on The Fylde Coast, remarked: “It’s been a busy January so far, which has actually followed a busy end to 2023 for us, even more so than over the summer which is unusual. The key thing is mortgage rates, and with rates coming down from July and into the start of 2024, we can see buyers have got more confidence. We’ve seen a lot of activity from first-time buyers, now ready to make their move at the start of the year, and with mortgage rates more settled, we’re also starting to see upsizers return who are now more confident to take out a larger mortgage for a bigger home. The market is just getting started, but we’re optimistic about what 2024 can bring.”
Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, added: “As rates seem to finally be easing and buyers getting more comfortable with affordability, confidence seems to be returning to the market.
“Reduced inflation is helping potential buyers manage their finances, allowing them the flexibility and comfort to be able to move.
“As the cost of borrowing looks as though it will come down further in 2024, a further uptick and strength in the housing market is expected.”
Confidence returning to UK housing market as asking prices rise – Rightmove
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