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Property market bounces back at start of 2024

Property market bounces back at start of 2024
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

According to the property portal, the number of new properties coming onto the market for sale is 15% higher than in the same period last year.

The property market is looking brighter as a new year dawns. Average new seller asking prices have risen by 1.3% (£4,571) month-on-month to £359,748, the biggest December to January increase in prices since 2020. 

Prices typically rise from a quiet December into a busier January, but this price rise is the largest for January since 2020, and more than double the 20-year average of +0.6%.

However, average prices are still 0.7% lower than at this time last year, highlighting that many new sellers are being realistic about their expectations as the market continues to recover from the impact of volatile mortgage rates.

Rightmove said that buyer demand in the first week of 2024 is also 5% higher than in the same period last year. But it warned that competitive pricing from sellers was “still vital”, with the number of new properties coming to market outpacing the rise in demand.

Property market showing ‘confidence’

Rightmove data showed the number of sales agreed is 20% higher than during the first week of last year, which it said indicated “a strong return of buyer confidence when compared with the unsettled post-mini-Budget period a year ago”.

Analysts said that the jump in the number of properties coming to market and the strength of this month’s price rise show that new sellers are more confident about the outlook for the year ahead. 

Tim Bannister, Rightmove director, said: “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.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent, said: “It’s premature to say whether the recent improvement in activity will translate into a strong market recovery during early 2024, but certainly the initial signs are encouraging.

“In our offices, we’ve seen a similar picture to that painted by the Rightmove survey. No New Year fireworks, but more valuations, viewings, listings and offers than this time last year.

“The mortgage rate war and improvement in lender appetite, combined with lower inflation and a strong jobs market, have helped to fuel expectations that prices may have passed their low point and more balance between supply and demand lies ahead.”