Positive Turnaround in Housing Market After a Year of Challenges

Published: 18/01/2024 By House & Son team

In a demonstration of remarkable resilience, the UK housing market weathered a modest 2.1% decrease in average house prices over the 12 months leading up to November 2023, according to the latest figures from the ONS House Price Index. This figure marks a shift from the 1.3% decline reported in the preceding 12 months to October 2023.

Despite the dip, the average house price in November 2023 stood at £285,000, reflecting a year-on-year decrease of £6,000. A detailed look at the data showcases varying trends across regions. England experienced a 2.9% decline to an average of £302,000, while Wales saw a 2.4% decrease to £213,000. In contrast, Scotland defied the trend with a 2.2% increase, reaching an average of £194,000. Additionally, Northern Ireland reported a positive trajectory, witnessing a 2.1% increase to £180,000 in the year leading up to Q3 (July to September) 2023.

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, expressed optimism, noting that the 2% fall over the past year is relatively modest, given the economic challenges faced. He highlighted the adaptability of the property industry and the enduring dreams of homeownership, factors that have contributed to maintaining healthy property levels in the market.

Nicky Stevenson, managing director at Fine & Country, emphasized the impact of realistic pricing from sellers and the willingness to negotiate, which softened house prices in November. Stevenson's outlook for 2024 is positive, citing stable or falling interest rates and increasing lender competitiveness, factors expected to draw more buyers into the market.

According to Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, the property market in 2023 experienced a shift from intense competition to a smaller, more committed buyer pool. Looking ahead to 2024, he anticipates a busier market driven by lifestyle choices, with buyers focusing on quality homes in desirable locations.

Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, predicts a turnaround in house price declines as mortgage rates fall. With an expected 3% rise in prices in 2024, Bill acknowledges the potential impact of political instability as a key risk facing the market.

Steven Dugdale, House & Son Sales Manager, sees the improvement in market health as evidenced by the return of both buyers and sellers. Dugdale expects the upward momentum to continue, gradually pushing sold prices in the right direction.

Stephen Ridler, Branch Manager of House & Son Winton, offers a nuanced perspective, pointing out that the nominal 2.1% decrease in house prices is largely influenced by higher interest rates impacting affordability. Ridler emphasizes the stability provided by outright homeownership, where 36% of property owners in England own homes without a mortgage.

Sharon Gould, CEO of House & Son, underscores the positivity in front-end market activity leading up to Christmas. While acknowledging a seasonally influenced drop in property values, Gould anticipates a reversal of this trend as the market gains momentum in 2024.

In summary, industry experts see the recent challenges in the housing market as part of a broader narrative of resilience and adaptability, with positive indicators paving the way for a more buoyant market in the coming year.