The average asking prices for new sellers experienced a notable uptick of 1.3 percent between December and January, constituting the most substantial increase seen during this period since 2020. Despite this positive momentum, the average prices are still 0.7 percent lower than the figures recorded at the same time last year.
Rightmove’s observations point towards encouraging activity in the initial week of the year, surpassing the levels witnessed in the preceding year. This heightened activity is attributed to an increasing number of prospective buyers and sellers, displaying confidence in kickstarting their moving plans early in 2024. The market dynamics indicate a proactive approach from participants keen on navigating the property landscape with optimism and early planning.
This early surge in activity hints at a potential shift in market sentiment, suggesting a more robust start to the year compared to previous periods. The increased confidence among buyers and sellers bodes well for a dynamic and potentially buoyant property market as the year unfolds.
The property market is witnessing a substantial uptick, with a noteworthy 15 percent surge in new properties hitting the market for sale in comparison to the same period last year. Simultaneously, the first week of 2024 has seen a five percent increase in buyer demand, indicating a promising start to the year. However, amid these positive signs, the portal emphasizes the continued importance of competitive pricing, underscoring that the escalation in new properties entering the market is surpassing the concurrent rise in demand.
In the evolving landscape, maintaining a strategic approach to pricing becomes a key consideration for sellers looking to navigate the heightened market activity. The dynamic of increased properties and heightened demand calls for a nuanced pricing strategy to ensure sellers can maximize their market reach and capitalize on the current vigor. The balancing act between supply and demand remains a critical factor influencing the overall market sentiment.
A notable highlight in this trend is the robust 20 percent increase in the number of sales agreed during the first week of the year, marking a significant rebound in buyer confidence. This surge in sales agreements stands in stark contrast to the unsettled post-mini-Budget period, reflecting a renewed trust in the market’s stability. The data indicates a strong return of buyer confidence, suggesting a more optimistic and resilient property market as it navigates the evolving economic landscape.
In the aftermath of Christmas, Rightmove has witnessed a notable surge, with nine out of its 10 busiest days on record observed for individuals seeking a Mortgage in Principle to assess their borrowing capacity. This early trend suggests a proactive approach by individuals in setting their moving plans in motion for the year 2024. The heightened activity in Mortgage in Principle requests serves as an initial indicator of increased movement within the property market.
Adding to the evolving dynamics, the average five-year mortgage rate has undergone a substantial decline, currently resting at 4.86 percent. This marks a significant decrease from the peak rate of 6.11 percent recorded in July 2023. Despite the potential for further developments, Rightmove remains optimistic, asserting that early indications hint at a more stable trajectory for the mortgage market. This follows a period of notable volatility experienced from September 2022 onwards, highlighting a potential shift towards a more resilient and predictable market environment.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, offers insights into these developments, stating, “Rightmove’s comprehensive market data provides us with the ability to discern the earliest signs of market activity. The positive trends in new listings, buyer enquiries directed to agents, and the number of agreed-upon sales serve as encouraging early indicators, underlining a potentially robust start to the year in the property market.”
“Combined with our more recent Mortgage in Principle data, the numbers suggest that many are taking action to make their move in 2024, perhaps including some who paused last year due to the more unsteady mortgage market.
“A General Election is expected to be held during the second half of 2024, and traditionally we see a temporary slow-down in activity in the weeks before an election, as movers wait for the outcome and assess any impact that it may have on their housing plans. It will be important to keep a careful eye on this and on the impact of other economic news this year, but for now the data at the start of 2024 points to building momentum, and reasons for growing market optimism.”
He continues: “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.
“Elevated mortgage rates and the wider cost-of-living squeeze are still limiting buyers’ spending power. Accurate and realistic pricing for their local area is the recipe for success for sellers looking to get moving in 2024, and it’s been proven that over-optimistic pricing makes a move much less likely.”