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December 2023 – Property Market Comment with Richard

Welcome to the December 2023 property market comment.

So here we are at the end of a quieter year from the property market as a whole, although we have seen some remarkable results for our clients over the past few months. It’s tempting to suggest that now that interest rates appear to have peaked, unemployment levels remain low and post-Covid norms are slowly returning across the economy, that the property market will re-ignite its upward trajectory.

However, we’d urge a little caution here – we have an election ahead of us, the developing situation in the Ukraine and the Middle East will have further ramifications affecting both our own security and business confidence across the board, and we need to look carefully at the metrics of the property market itself.

For example, according to Rightmove, average prices this month have fallen more than usual for this time of year, with a nearly 2% drop in asking prices compared to last month. This is clearly a reflection of sellers pricing more competitively in a slower market, and it is this that has probably ensured that the market has kept moving. In fact, transaction levels are down just 3% on last year’s frenetic market.

So there is every hope for sellers as we enter the Christmas market (by the way, don’t wait until the spring to sell your property – the market could be quite flooded with stock by then). In fact, it would be a good idea to start the ball rolling now. This is especially the case this year, as National Trading Standards has just issued guidance regarding the material information that must be provided when marketing a property for sale. A lot of the information that a buyer’s solicitor would traditionally look for, is now the responsibility of the seller and their agent at the outset.

For example, are you aware of any restrictive covenants on your property, rights of way, building safety, fire and flood risk. In fact, anything that might affect a buyer’s decision to even view your property needs to be disclosed at the outset, even if you might currently be unaware of an issue, such as a neighbour’s application for planning permission or a proposed new railway line two miles away.

Consultation with an informed, straight-talking local estate agent, well ahead of time, is therefore more important than ever before. Moving house is a big deal – so why not let us guide you through the process. We’d be delighted to hear from you and happy to offer the right advice without any obligation. In the meantime, may we wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.


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