Regional variations in price performance are evident, with prices in seven out of 11 regions higher than a year ago. The North West leads the way with a 1.5% increase, while the South East is the worst performer at 3.7% below 2022. The market's stability is expected to attract more family movers who had delayed their plans due to uncertainties in the previous year. Factors contributing to this trend include a consistent decline in average mortgage rates over 19 consecutive weeks, making housing more affordable. The mid-market, second-stepper sector is witnessing increased buyer demand, up 9% compared to the post-mini-Budget period of the previous year. As the market heads into 2024, Rightmove predicts a national average asking price drop of 1%, with motivated sellers still needing to price competitively to secure a sale. The overall market seems to be transitioning from a seller's market to a more balanced one, with signs of increased activity from both family movers and first-time buyers.
Despite the encouraging trends, sellers are advised to be realistic with their pricing strategies. While mortgage rates are stabilising, elevated interest rates may continue to impact buyer affordability. Early indicators suggest that 2024 might see a return of more family movers, driven by improved market stability and favourable mortgage conditions.Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, notes the unexpected resilience of the market this year, attributing the 1.1% fall in asking prices to improved stability. Bannister suggests that sellers should price competitively from the outset to capture early-bird buyers' interest in the New Year.
Real estate agents share varied perspectives on the year, highlighting the market's complexity. While transaction levels have been lower than previous years, attractively priced properties continue to sell. The advice to both buyers and sellers is to set realistic expectations, considering the potential for a more balanced market with increased choices for buyers in prime areas.As the industry anticipates a post-Christmas upturn in activity, real estate professionals are optimistic about the market's trajectory in 2024. The key takeaway is the importance of strategic pricing to navigate the evolving dynamics of the real estate landscape.