If I had a pound for every time someone asked me ‘How’s the market?’ it would certainly give me a few more pennies at the end of every day, that’s for sure.
With that question in mind, I wanted to highlight how the market has started this year and what we can expect in the months to come.
New properties to market in January were up 17.89% on the same time last year and sales agreed were up 23.31%.
Zoopla has reported that demand is sitting 12% higher than a year ago and this reflects a return of pent-up buyer demand after many delayed moving in 2023 in the face of rising mortgage rates.
This level of activity would suggest that the current 2.32% peak to trough for the average UK property value is not far off the total price adjustment we will see in the market from the highs of £291,716 in September 2022.
This is a clear sign of positive sentiment returning to the market and just goes to show what several months of inflation and interest rates coming down can do to consumer confidence.
The recent decision by The Monetary Policy Committee to hold the Bank of England base rate at 5.25% follows the same decision as in September, November, and December after 14 consecutive rises and will increase confidence further to those people who were hesitant to move home during the uncertainty of 2023.
Though signs are showing the base rate is at its peak, it is likely to remain flat into 2024, before starting to drop back.
History has shown that after interest rates have increased over time, they have remained flat before starting to come down.
Interestingly, in 1952 the base rate increased from 2.5% to 4% and took 56 years to return to this level in late 2008.
If you are unsure about moving and waiting for rates to return to the sub 2% rates of 2009-2022, just remember for those that waited until 2008 for rates to drop back to 1952 levels would have seen house prices go up 13,605% in this time.
Now we know how the year has started, let's take a look at what is perhaps next to come.
Rightmove recently analysed millions of properties that have been listed for sale since 2012 (excluding 2020 due to the pandemic) to see which months are the best in terms of finding a buyer, and when properties sell the quickest.
Would it surprise you if I were to say listing your property in February gives you the best chance of selling your home and in the quickest time?
Most people typically think that spring is the best time to find a buyer with the nicer weather and lighter days, but this evidence from Rightmove highlights that the start of the year normally means more demand from buyers than there is supply from sellers entering the market, giving a higher chance of selling.
It is also worth noting that on average it is currently taking 65 days to find a buyer and a further 115 days to complete a transaction.
This would mean listing your home for sale in February would mean you were not actually moving until July.
For those thinking of making a move in 2024, perhaps now is the time to do so, before rates drop further and more buyers return to the market, thus increasing competition and perhaps house prices.
If you are thinking about your options and want to discuss things further, please do reach out to me for an informal chat.
Thank you for reading.
P.S. You can CLICK HERE for an indication of what your property is worth!