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Is the property sales outlook improving?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published its January 2024 Residential Market Survey, indicating that property sales volumes are recovering slightly and are likely to increase over the next twelve months.


Caroline Murray

The survey says that there has been a modest recovery in demand from buyers, with enquiries up by seven percent nationally in January 2024 – the strongest since February 2022.  This is compared with a fall of three percent in December 2023. The survey also says that it sees agreed sales increasing by five percent.

RICS says that the increase is influenced by the easing of mortgage rates and expected Bank of England interest rate cuts and that respondents to the survey are positive, with some seeing sales picking up over the next three months and more expecting increases over the next 12 months.

Whilst house prices are still down, with 2023 being a particularly weak year, the general picture is slightly more positive, as reported in the Halifax House Price Index, Nationwide House Price Index and by Rightmove – all of which produce statistics monthly.  They each use different metrics to calculate the statistics and report the following information:

  • Halifax figures are based on sales it has financed and show the average price in January as £291,029. This is an increase of 1.3 percent since December 2023 and 2.5 percent increase over the year.
  • Nationwide figures are based on mortgages it has approved and show the average house price in January 2024 as £257,656, which is 0.7 percent increase since December 2023 and 0.2 percent decrease over the year.
  • Rightmove figures are based on house prices agreed at the point when a mortgage is granted for properties listed on its website – it has a much larger sample size than both Halifax and Nationwide. Its analysis shows an average new seller asking price in January 2024 of £359,748, which is an increase of 1.3 percent since December 2023 and a decrease of 0.7 percent over the year.

Conversely, the Office for National Statistics, which also produces statistics monthly and uses data from the Land Registry to record changes in the property market, shows a provisional estimate of a drop of 2.1 percent in house prices over the year, to an average price of £285,000.

Graysons’ property experts offer a complete residential conveyancing service and will provide a competitive quotation for your sale or purchase.  You can get an instant, no-obligation quote by clicking on our cost calculator.

You can find more about all conveyancing matters on our property web pages.

Author: Caroline Murray, partner and head of Graysons’ conveyancing team.

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