Property Market Update – February 2024

The property market is off to a roaring start this year. As per usual, Christmas is a popular time for property searches as buyers look towards a spring move.

Post Christmas flurry

According to Rightmove, over 10,000 new properties launched on Boxing Day, while buyer enquiries over the Christmas period were 17% higher than the same period last year. This suggests that those who put off moving house last year to see what the market would do, are ready to move.

Overseas interest as strong as ever

Around 23% of our buyers come from overseas. Countries we’re currently seeing a lot of interest from are; South Africa, Singapore, Russia (there are issues moving money from Russia at the moment, but some Russian buyers have their money elsewhere and can pass a ‘proof of funds’ check) and the US.

In fact, the majority of our buyers come from overseas. Interesting isn’t it, especially given some high street brands sell themselves on the fact they can reach the overseas market in a way smaller agents can’t!

Interest rates & mortgages

Meanwhile, with the Bank of England interest rate held at 5.25%, mortgage rates are more favourable now than for a while, with 4% interest rates available on a 5 year deal. Interestingly, the buy-to-let sector are seeing better rates from high street lenders rather than the broader market.

Price predictions

It’s widely expected that prices in the South East will dip slightly this year, though overall the market is staying fairly strong. As I’ve previously said, this is nothing to be concerned about, just an adjustment in the market after 3 years of very strong price growth and a change in economic conditions.

There are plenty of people who need and/or want to move, with huge demand for properties, so if you’re thinking of moving this year, now is genuinely a great time to get on the market.

Reality bites

I do still see the odd seller who believes their property is impervious to market conditions and I understand why – we’re talking about big numbers. However, just as home owners benefit when prices rise, they must accept that they sometimes go down, too. The same market conditions will impact an onward property purchase so it all evens out in the end. Those who are downsizing may lose out slightly, but staying put and waiting for the market to go back up could cost them a fortune in extra bills, maintenance, interest etc.

As always, the best time to move is when you’re ready. If you are, please do give us a call, we’ll be delighted to help you.

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