Spring Market Update

April 2023

Spring Market Update

Spring Market Update

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And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils (Wordsworth)

Just as springtime gladdened the heart of William Wordsworth, so we should allow ourselves a little optimism following a cold and challenging winter. As the weather warms and the natural world revives during this very best of seasons, so there are signs of new life in the property market.

Interest rates seem to be settling down and mortgage providers are competing to reduce fixed term mortgage rates which, whilst certainly higher than in December 2021, are now significantly lower than their peak last year. Market appraisal requests to Artistry have doubled in the first quarter of the year, suggesting there will be an increase in unique homes coming to market in due course, and the number of sales agreed by Artistry has increased too. We explore the latest market statistics below:

All regions, according to Nationwide, saw a slowing of house price growth in the first quarter of the year, with most areas seeing small year-on-year falls, including a 1.85% drop in East Anglia. By contrast, the latest House Price Index (HPI) from Halifax shows national prices in March 2023 were 1.6% higher than the same month a year earlier, with all UK nations and regions reporting growth. Halifax reports Bank of England figures showing mortgage approvals rising for the first time in 6 months. In the 12 months to January 2023, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) records house prices in the East of England increasing by 6.8%, although it is likely their next HPI, released later this month, will show a lower figure.

Rightmove’s March House Price Index offers an insight into market sentiment. The average price of property coming to market rose by 0.8%, with asking prices increasing over the year by 3%. Rightmove’s Director of Property Science, Tim Bannister, says: “The beginning of the spring season sees stability and confidence continuing to return to the market as it recovers from the turbulence at the end of 2022.” Interest in higher value homes is recovering less quickly than in traditional first-time buyer properties and they encourage sellers to temper their price expectations to attract more buyer interest and secure a sale.

Richard Donnell, Executive Director at Zoopla, says: “The housing market is arguably more balanced than it has been for more than three years. Levels of supply have recovered and buyers and sellers are not miles apart on where they see pricing – this means deals are being agreed at an increasing rate.”

Rightmove concurs that the number of sales agreed continues to rebound, with the level of buyer demand now 6% higher than in the same period in 2019 and with the average time to sell a property being 57 days, reducing from 62 days last year. This suggests that upward trend in activity is likely to continue. Whilst there is still an overall shortage of housing in the area, there are many more properties for sale than a year ago, giving prospective buyers confidence for their onward move.

In summary, we expect a further increase in property for sale in the coming weeks and months, leading to an increase in transactions in the Spring and Summer. We encourage sellers to be realistic in their price expectations to ensure they attract good, proceedable buyers, but positively, the numbers of sales being agreed is already recovering. The Artistry team is in conversation with many prospective buyers looking for unique homes to move into this year; to avoid missing out on the best homes, prospective buyers should consider listing their current property for sale in good time.

Whilst the market continues to find its true level, unique homes don’t necessarily track the market exactly. If you wish to move in the near future and would like advice specific to your property, please contact our Bedford office to arrange a free market appraisal and valuation. In the meantime, may we wish you a very happy and peaceful Easter.

Released: 7th April 2023