What’s Happened in the Housing Market in January?

Home prices experience largest increase for January since 2020

A significant number of prospective homeowners have kick-started their 2024 relocation plans, with estate agents noting a bustling onset to the year. The most recent data on housing prices, offers a real-time glimpse into property market dynamics, indicating an increase in new listings compared to the initial week of January last year. Similarly, the demand from potential buyers has seen a rise from 2023 levels.

An additional encouraging indicator is the number of individuals initiating the process of securing a Mortgage in Principle to gauge their borrowing capacity from lenders. Since December 27th, Rightmove reports that it has recorded nine out of its ten busiest days for Mortgage in Principle activities, with January poised to become the most active month since the inception of this service in 2022.

January witnessed the most significant monthly surge in new seller asking prices since 2020

The average listing price for a home in Great Britain climbed by £4,571 (a 1.3% increase) to nearly £360,000 this month. Despite this growth, the figures remain below those of the same period last year, indicating a level of pragmatism among new sellers regarding price expectations amid the market’s ongoing recovery from the effects of historically elevated mortgage rates.

Notably, there are distinct regional differences in these trends across Great Britain. To view the most current average home prices in your area, see Rightmove.

Essential Insights for Home-Buyers in 2024

Forecasted Slight Decrease in Average Listing Prices by Year-End

The transition from a subdued December to a more active January typically leads to a rise in prices, making this month’s uptick anticipated. Moving forward, it is anticipated there will be a 1% decline in average new seller asking prices across the nation by year’s end. Given the sustained strong demand from buyers at appropriate price points, a more substantial decrease in prices in 2024 seems improbable.

Increased number of new property listings compared to the same period last year

There’s a 15% surge in the volume of homes entering the market for sale compared to the beginning of the previous year, spurred by an unprecedented spike in listings on Rightmove on Boxing Day. The most notable upturns in new listings have been observed in the North East and South West regions. Although this has expanded the options for buyers, the market isn’t oversaturated with listings, as the total inventory of properties for sale is merely 1% higher than the typical market figures of 2019.

Mortgage rates have been on a gradual decline

This presents a more stable environment for the mortgage sector compared to the same period last year. As January witnesses a seasonal surge in demand, lenders are increasingly vying for business, intensifying competition within the market.

The Present Property Landscape for Home-Sellers

An encouraging sign for 2024 is the 20% increase in sales agreements compared to the early days of last year, indicating that many sellers are setting appealing prices to attract buyers. This uptick is noteworthy, especially considering the hesitant market conditions at the start of last year due to the mini-budget repercussions and the rising mortgage rates, which led many to reevaluate their positions.

Additionally, buyer interest has seen a 5% rise in the first week of 2024 over the same timeframe last year, with London and the North East experiencing the most significant surge in inquiries. This heightened activity underscores the importance of competitive pricing for sellers aiming to secure a sale this year, as the influx of new listings surpasses the growth in buyer inquiries.

The current dynamics suggest a proactive stance among many looking to move in 2024, including those who might have put their plans on hold last year due to the fluctuating mortgage landscape.

The housing market in January indicates that 2024 should be a good year for property owners.

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