Home Property A hold on interest rates has helped bring confidence to the property market

A hold on interest rates has helped bring confidence to the property market

by Seamus Doherty Property Reporter
22nd Jan 24 12:34 pm

The latest research by London lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, has shown that the number of homebuyers taking the plunge on their chosen property has increased, as a hold on interest rates has helped bring confidence to the property market.

Benham and Reeves analysed the number of homes listed across the market and marked as sold subject to contract (SSTC) across England in Q4, or in other words, the homes that had already secured a buyer. Benham and Reeves then looked at how this volume of sold stock had changed since the start of 2023 (Q1).

After a difficult 2023 for the UK housing market, there has been a glimmer of hope in recent months after it was reported that mortgage approval numbers have started to rise, in turn leading to consistent growth in mortgage approved house price data from the likes of Halifax and Nationwide.

The latest research by Benham and Reeves shows that this initial indication of improving market health is also starting to translate to an uplift in homebuyer activity.

The figures show that in Q4 of last year, some 277,115 homes listed for sale online had already been marked as sold subject to contract, a 7% increase versus Q1 2023, as over 18,000 more homebuyers took the plunge on their desired property.

All in all, 32 of England’s 48 counties had seen the number of SSTC homes increase, but the biggest increases have been recorded in Bedfordshire with a 15.3% jump in the number of homes sold between Q1 and Q4 of last year.

Rutland has seen the second largest increase at 14.5%, followed by Buckinghamshire (+9.7%) Berkshire (+9.2%), Oxfordshire (+7.6%), Somerset (+7.5%) and Kent (+7.3%).

There’s also good news for London home sellers, with the capital seeing the eighth largest increase (+7.1%) in the number of homes securing a buyer, with the West Midlands (+6.9%) and Isle of Wight (+6.8%) also making the top 10.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, said, “Numerous market indicators now suggest that the property market is poised to go from strength to strength in 2024.

Having seen mortgage market activity build towards the back end of last year following a freeze on interest rates, we’re now seeing this activity translate into an uplift in the number of homes going under offer and selling subject to contract. The rental market also remains extremely busy and we’re continuing to see demand from tenants exceed the level of stock available to them.

While it will take some time for these sales to complete, it’s only a matter of time before this growing market momentum starts to cultivate sold prices, bringing further stability to the property market in the process.”

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