Happy New Year and welcome to our January journal
We’ll update you on the latest market news and give our professional advice when it comes to buying and selling. So let’s dive in.
As predicted, property prices in December dropped by 2.1% but remained 5.6% higher than the previous year. Sellers were encouraged to price competitively to attract buyers who remained confident in an uncertain housing market with viewings up 11% on the previous year.
At Sargeants, December was a good month for both exchanges and new business despite small distractions like the FIFA World Cup (not to mention the weather).
Buyer demand was up and we’re hopeful that we’ll see a return to pre-pandemic activity as we move further into 2023.
Looking at the impact the economy is having on the housing market, last month The Bank of England increased interest rates to 3.5% in an attempt to tackle price rises.
The Prime Minister’s next interest rate announcement is 2nd February and whilst a further increase is likely, there are some green shoots on the horizon. The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), which reviews the government’s economic plans, predicts a fall in inflation to 3.75% by the Autumn which is below half the current level.
News that The Bank of England’s base rate is unlikely to exceed 4.5% rather than the analyst-predicted 6%, has bolstered lenders seeking a stable market. Mortgage borrowing rates have come down and cheaper fixed-rate mortgages are being offered. This is a relief for buyers following so much uncertainty in recent months.
There are more positive signs that the property market remains active with data from the first week in January showing that 9,231 residential property sales were agreed, up on the same period in 2022.
For sellers, affordability is key if you need to move quickly, but if you’re happy to play the waiting game, views of homes for sale on Rightmove are up 11% on last year so there are lots of potential buyers out there.
For buyers, our advice is to do your research, particularly when it comes to mortgage lenders. Keep an eye on the market and keep viewing properties. If you see something you like, move quickly. If your timing’s right, you could get a great deal but be aware that a rise in mortgage cost could cancel out any savings on a property. Our advice is to speak with us and we can guide you on the best way forward.