There is cautiously optimistic news as we begin the new year, with increased activity from both buyers and sellers in the housing market. Average asking prices for new sellers have risen by 1.3% compared to the previous month, reaching £359,748. While prices are still 0.7% lower than last year, this increase is the largest for January since 2020. This rise in prices suggests that sellers are feeling more confident about the market’s outlook for the year ahead.

In the first week of 2024, the number of new properties coming onto the market has increased by 15% compared to the same period last year. Buyer demand is also up by 5% year-on-year. However, it is important for sellers to price their properties competitively, as the number of properties coming onto the market is growing faster than demand. Despite this, the number of sales agreed is 20% higher than the same week last year, indicating a strong return of buyer confidence compared to the uncertain period following the mini-budget a year ago.

Rightmove has observed a surge of activity since Christmas, with nine out of its ten busiest days on record for people getting a Mortgage in Principle. This suggests that more people are considering their borrowing capabilities and getting their plans in place for 2024. Additionally, the average 5-year mortgage rate has decreased to 4.86%, marking a more stable year for the mortgage market after the volatility experienced in 2022.

Overall, these early indicators point towards a smoother year for the housing market in 2024. With more sellers entering the market and pricing their properties realistically, there is greater potential for successful moves. However, it is crucial for sellers to set accurate and competitive prices, as elevated mortgage rates and the cost of living continue to impact buyers’ spending power.

Chris Rowson, the Managing Director at Sharman Quinney in Cambridgeshire, has expressed optimism for the market, noting a promising start to the year with increased valuations, viewings, and mortgage appointments. However, it is important to remain cautious and not get carried away with early success.

The Property Investor Show takes place on 19th and 20th April 2024 at London ExCel