February's property market news


February's property market news

Posted on Thursday, February 29, 2024

As we reach the end of the second month of the year, the UK property market seems to be settling into a positive pattern, with buyer confidence continuing to rise and mortgage rates coming down.

A recent Dataloft Poll of Subscribers found that 85% of surveyed estate agents noticed an improvement in buyer confidence over the last three months, while the consumer confidence level has reached its highest point since January of 2022.

With hopes high for a reduction in interest rates on the horizon, we are moving towards spring with strong potential to see recovery in 2024’s housing market.

Biggest Increase for A Year in House Prices

The average house price has risen significantly throughout the UK according to both Halifax and Nationwide as we move into spring 2024. Average properties are now worth approximately £257,656, representing a rise of 0.7% according to Nationwide, while Halifax, the largest provider of mortgages in the UK, reports that an average home now has an asking price that is 2.5% higher than that from January 2023. This price hike is the biggest experienced since 2020, over double the 0.6% 20-year average. We can put these increases down to falling inflation, improvements in mortgage rates, and growing strength in the labour market.

More Buyer Enquiries Show Increased Market Activity

Prospective homebuyers are now starting to look at taking another step up the property ladder, with January looking set to be Rightmove’s Agreement in Principle service’s busiest month since its initial inception in 2022. The increase in demand is being met by equal enthusiasm from sellers, with 15% more new properties coming onto the market when compared with this time last year.

New agreed sales are up by 13%, showing that sellers and buyers are becoming increasingly aligned on pricing. Yet as a fifth of sellers are still accepting over 10% below their asking price to secure their sale, it remains clear that attractive pricing is still crucial.

Mortgage Rates Falling but Base Rate Is Holding

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee held a meeting on 8th February at which a majority decision was made to keep the base rate steady at 5.25%. This is the highest base rate seen since 2008’s Financial Crisis, yet instead of building societies and banks retaining higher interest rates on their mortgages, we are starting to see prices falling in February’s mortgage market, indicating that lenders are viewing the choice to hold rather increase the base rate as a positive sign from the Bank of England.

Moneyfacts now reports that both the current lowest fixed 2-year mortgage and fixed 3-year mortgage stand at 4.20%, with the lowest fixed 5-year mortgage having an interest rate of 3.93%. The number of available mortgage products for buyers to choose from has also increased for the sixth month in a row, with 5,899 different options currently on the table.

Heading In the Right Direction for Spring?

With the start of 2024 seeing signs of success in the property market, it appears that we could be heading in the right direction for a positive Spring.  Homebuyers are likely to see improvements as we move forward, making this an excellent time to start looking for a new home. As March is traditionally the month during which properties are most likely to secure a buyer, now is the perfect time for anyone considering selling to make moves towards finding an estate agent.

What Next?

We are delighted to bring you our property market updates each month. If you are thinking of buying or selling a property in Holmfirth please get in touch with our friendly team at Applegate Properties on 01484 682999 or email info@applegateproperties.co.uk.

Sound like your kind of people?
Then we would love to hear from you.