New home sellers boost UK property market with price rise

New home sellers boost UK property market with price rise

9:10 AM, 15th January 2024, About 6 months ago

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The UK’s property market has seen a surge of new sellers and buyers entering the market in January to boost prices by more than double the 20-year average of +0.6%, Rightmove says.

The property platform adds that the average price of property listed for sale increased by 1.3% (+4,571) this month to £359,748, the highest rise for January since 2020.

However, despite the increase, the average asking price of new sellers is still 0.7% below the level of last year, suggesting that many new sellers are being realistic about their market expectations.

‘Smoother year for movers in 2024’

Rightmove’s director of property science, Tim Bannister, said: “After a stop-start market in 2023, the initial signs suggest a smoother year for movers in 2024.

“More new sellers are now entering the market, and with more confident pricing.

“While the increased level of buyer activity that we’re also seeing may justify some of this increased pricing confidence from sellers, it’s important that sellers who are keen to find a buyer don’t get carried away with New Year enthusiasm when setting their price expectations.”

He added: “Elevated mortgage rates and the wider cost-of-living squeeze are still limiting buyers’ spending power.”

Potential buyers contacting estate agents

Rightmove’s early snapshot show the number of potential buyers contacting estate agents in the first week of 2024 was 5% higher than in the same period last year, with the strongest growth in London and the North East.

The number of properties listed for sale is also 15% higher than at the start of last year, following a record number of sellers launching on Rightmove on Boxing Day.

The North East and South West have seen the greatest addition of new choice for the increased number of new buyers.

And the number of available properties is just 1% above the more normal market levels of 2019.

Number of sales being agreed is 20% higher

The most positive early indicator for 2024 is that the number of sales being agreed is 20% higher at the start of the year than in the same period last year.

Since the 27th of December, Rightmove has seen nine of its 10 busiest days for prospective movers beginning the process of getting a mortgage in principle.

January is on course to be the busiest month for people getting a mortgage in principle on Rightmove since the service was launched in 2022.

‘The housing market is just heating up’

Chris Rowson, the managing director at estate agents Sharman Quinney in Cambridgeshire, said: “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.”

He adds: “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.”

‘2024 started with a busy property market’

Matt Thompson, the head of sales at Chestertons, says: “2024 started with a busy property market as buyers have been motivated to either commence or finalise their property search.

“The increasing availability of more affordable mortgage deals thereby plays a key role and will likely continue to fuel a surge in buyer activity over the coming week.”

Tomer Aboody, the director of property lender MT Finance, says: “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.”

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