Summer Market Update

July 2023

Summer Market Update

Summer Market Update

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“Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness.” (Charles Dickens)

Whatever the uncertainty over the economy, and it continues to just about defy expectations, we can be sure of one thing – that the headline writers will scour the monthly Nationwide and Halifax reports for the very worst figures around which a huge number of words and column inches will be devoted to concoct the gloomiest tale of woe. Meanwhile, we can tell you what is happening at Artistry and provide you with a fuller analysis of the reports and those from other organisations, not least the ONS (Office for National Statistics) which, despite painting a more complete picture, rarely makes the news.

Nationwide and Halifax, two of the UKs largest lenders, both rely on their own customer data. Halifax reports a 12-month decrease in house prices of 2.6%, but only a marginal change in prices between May and June of -0.1%, a quarterly increase of 0.3% and an increase of 1.5% so far this year (guess which figure the media used). Nationwide reports a 12-month decrease to the end of June of 3.5% but a marginal monthly increase in prices of 0.1%. Kim Kinnaird, Director at Halifax Mortgages, said: ‘’These latest figures do suggest a degree of stability in the face of economic uncertainty, and the volume of mortgage applications held up well throughout June, particularly from first-time buyers.’’

So now we come to the UK House Price Index, published by the ONS from figures produced by HM Land Registry, Land and Property Services Northern Ireland and Registers of Scotland, thus recording all UK residential transactions including, importantly, cash purchases, which account for between 25% and 40% of the market depending on the area. Average UK house prices increased by 3.2% in the 12 months to April 2023 according to their June report, although following Bank of England interest rate increases that have affected affordability for buyers taking out mortgages, they estimate that the figures to May 2023 will prove to be 1.9% and 0.0% in the East.

Reports from the property portals are interesting. reports that most prospective residential property buyers/sellers are still confident they will agree deals in the next 3 months, indicating reasonable market sentiment. Whilst there are obvious pressures on transaction numbers and prices, there remains relatively good buying activity, especially amongst best-in-class homes of the type in which Artistry specialise.

Rightmove also offers an insight into market sentiment. Their July index records average new seller asking prices fell by just £905 this month to £371,907 and their expectation is for another slight fall in average asking prices by the end of the year. Despite recent interest rate increases, Rightmove says there has been little effect on buyer demand over the last few weeks, which is 3% higher than the same period before the pandemic in 2019, although the number of sales being agreed is 12% lower. Interestingly, in the last 6 months, in Artistry’s core operating area of Bedfordshire and the surrounding counties, Rightmove reports that whilst the number of sales agreed generally for properties over £500,000 has reduced by 16%, the number of sales agreed by Artistry has increased by 86%, indicating that our approach to finding buyers for best-in-class property works.

In summary, a continuing increase in the number of homes for sale provides better choice for serious buyers, prompting many to list their own homes. When property is listed at fair prices, it is attracting good interest, with quite a few higher net worth buyers able to move without worrying about the vagaries of mortgage rates – this is especially true for unique homes. Whilst average house prices continue to find their true level following the significant increases in prices seen over the last 3 years, it’s worth noting that unique homes don’t necessarily track the market exactly.

As always, the Artistry team is in conversation with many prospective buyers looking for unique homes to move into this year. If you too would like to move before the end of the year, you should consider entering the market now. If you’re thinking of selling a unique home and would like advice specific to you, please contact our Bedford office to arrange a free market appraisal and valuation.

Produced 19th July 2023