The good news is..... Sales are UP by 14.8%. Viewing ratios are UP. New instructions…
Welcome to the August 2023 property market comment. And not everyone’s on holiday it seems!
The property market used to be dead during the holidays but this year we’ve seen a surprising amount of consistency from month to month, and the market seems to be holding up pretty well, despite those interest rates-up again. But have they now peaked, we wonder?
The medicine is working-the inflation figures are moving in the right direction and employment levels remain high as well, with strong wage growth on top. Yes, house prices have fallen a bit since last year (the Nationwide tells us that they’re down 2.4% on this time last year, but that the pace of decline is easing. And don’t forget that although highly respected, the Nationwide’s figures are based on their mortgage customers only.
About 30% of buyers don’t require a mortgage, especially at the higher levels. So there are still plenty of cash or equity-rich buyers but they’re taking their time to view a slowly-increasing choice of property.
So once again we see a degree of resilience in the market, with buyer demand 3% up on 2019, or pre-pandemic, levels-even among first time buyers, with indications that many are now searching for smaller properties or cheaper areas to offset those higher borrowing costs. Interestingly Rightmove research suggests that average asking prices are actually 2.6% higher than they were in January, despite the number of sales agreed being 12% down on 2019’s more “normal” market level.
This could mean that some ambitious sellers might have to consider repositioning the price of their property if they are going to achieve a sale before it goes stale on the market. Although frankly, there is still a bit of a shortage of stock compared to historic norms, with 12% fewer homes for sale than this time in 2019. Just don’t push your price too far, as Rightmove also concurs with our view that properties that need a reduction in asking price are 10% less likely to find a buyer than those that were priced correctly from the outset.
With the chances of selling already slightly lower due to current market conditions, initial over-pricing reduces those chances further.So please take care over your price and as ever, if you’d like any guidance about the local property market in the context of your own needs, then please do call us–for straight-talking, good advice–as we’d love to help you move. Book your valuation here online.