As we move towards Christmas and the end of 2023 many people’s thoughts understandably turn to the festive period and spending time with family and friends.
The property market however continues to operate and Boxing Day is traditionally the day when more people visit property portals and property websites than any other day of the year.
2023 has been a challenging year with the high cost of living and rising interest rates although there are some positive signs for 2024 and beyond.
Inflation has halve over the course of the last twelve months and the recent Autum Statement from the Chancellor saw a number of measures to look to build economic growth and at least mitigate the tax burden on individuals. Reductions in National Insurance and keeping the triple lock will see state pensions rise by 8.7% next April.
Interest rate increases for those with mortgages are clearly painful but lenders have been “stress testing” the ability of people to pay higher rates for the last ten to fifteen years and therefore the amount of arrears and volumes of repossessions remain low.
Whilst we may see some further increases in the Bank of England base rate, it is generally felt that we have likely peaked on mortgage rates and the long term position looks more positive.
Over 50% of UK home-owners do not have a mortgage at all and higher interest rates have been good news for savers.
It is expected that industrial disputes within the NHS will be resolved by the end of the year and we can, hopefully, turn to a more positive outlook in the New Year.
Of course, the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East is terrible and we can only hope for a satisfactory outcome as quickly as possible.
2023 has seen transactional sales volumes reduce but only to the average levels of the last twenty years and house prices, whilst having adjusted downwards a few percentage points, have not collapsed and despite some ongoing uncertainty, do not look likely to do so.
The lettings market has been on fire with demand greatly outstripping supply and rents having seen double digit growth. Proposed changes in legislation are currently working their way through Parliament but proposed changes to EPC rating requirements have been shelved and the proposed abolition of section 21 evictions has been delayed until the Courts can handle procedures effectively.
Housebuilding volumes continue to be at low levels and, with a General Election due next year, political parties are beginning to make optimistic promises on how they would create more homes through improving planning and setting targets.
Through all of the above, the market continues to function and research from Rightmove shows that a key factor in successfully selling is to price correctly at the outset. Bringing a property to the market at too high an asking price is seeing properties stagnate and, by the time a realistic position is taken, the property has lost momentum with potential buyers and prices achieved are weakened. In addition, these properties are far more likely to see a sale fall through after it has been agreed.
Taking professional and experienced advice has never been more important and our team is here to assist you through every step of your sales or lettings journey.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family and friends, a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we look forward to being of service to you before, during or after the festive period.