April 22, 2024 7:40 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

Rightmove anticipates disruptions in the housing market starting from the summer months, warning sellers to brace for potential challenges. This caution comes amidst a surge in sales activity at the beginning of the year, driven by sellers eager to navigate ahead of the anticipated market lull. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s market analyst, underscores the traditional distraction that the summer holidays pose for home-hunters, as many temporarily suspend their search to enjoy vacations both abroad and within the UK.

The buoyant activity seen in the housing market could be attributed to sellers’ proactive approach in capitalizing on the current momentum before the market dynamics potentially shift. Bannister highlights the importance for sellers to strategize their listing timelines, recognizing the significance of making the most of the active market period before the onset of summer distractions. As the housing landscape evolves, sellers are advised to stay vigilant and adaptable to navigate the forthcoming challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

In addition to the typical distractions of the summer holidays, such as vacations abroad and trips to the British coastline, the looming spectacles of the Euro 2024 football tournament and the Olympics, followed possibly by a General Election in the latter part of the year, are poised to capture the attention of potential property buyers more than ever before. This convergence of events presents a window of opportunity for individuals contemplating a relocation to act swiftly before these external factors become prominent.

While the housing market grapples with ongoing affordability challenges, the landscape remains stable, offering a favorable environment for both property and mortgage transactions. With a plethora of choices available to buyers, sellers are increasingly recognizing the strategic timing to engage in negotiations and potentially agree on favorable pricing terms to facilitate transactions. The surge in market activity indicates a proactive approach among many prospective home movers who are eager to capitalize on the current conditions and initiate their relocation plans promptly.

His cautionary message coincides with the recent release of Rightmove’s latest housing market snapshot, shedding light on the current state of affairs as we venture into 2024.

When comparing the data to the same period last year, there’s a discernible upward trend: a notable 12% uptick in the number of new sellers entering the market, alongside a commendable 13% increase in the number of sales being finalized. These figures suggest a robust start to the year, indicative of a buoyant housing market.

Interestingly, the surge in activity appears to be most pronounced in the upper echelons of the property ladder. Here, we observe an impressive 18% surge in the number of new sellers compared to the previous year, coupled with a significant 20% increase in the number of sales being contracted. This surge in the top-tier segment reflects a sense of confidence among sellers in this bracket, perhaps driven by favorable market conditions and an opportune moment to capitalize on potential gains.

Homeowners are taking decisive action, as evidenced by Thursday 28th March marking the arrival of the highest number of new sellers to the property market in a single day thus far in 2024, the third-largest surge since August 2020.

Additionally, Rightmove reports a notable uptick in the average asking price of properties entering the market, registering a 1.1% increase (£4,207) this month, reaching £372,324. This figure falls just £570 shy of the record set in May 2023. Moreover, the annual rate of price growth stands at +1.7%, marking its highest level in a year.

A significant contributor to this upward trajectory in average prices is the top-tier segment of the housing market, which is experiencing its most robust start to the year for price growth since 2014. However, Rightmove underscores the market’s sensitivity to pricing dynamics, noting variations in speed and activity across different sectors. Particularly, price and activity escalations are observed to be more gradual in sectors reliant on mortgages, such as first-time buyers and second-steppers.

Tim Bannister, from Rightmove, comments, “The top-tier segment remains the driving force behind pricing activity at the onset of the year. Home movers in this bracket tend to exhibit less sensitivity to elevated mortgage rates and boast greater equity, thereby enhancing their capacity to make moves.”

“While some buyers, across all sectors, will feel that their affordability has improved compared to last year due to wage growth and stable house prices, others will be more impacted by cost-of-living challenges and stickier than expected high mortgage rates. Despite these factors,  it has been a positive start to the year in comparison to the more muted start to 2023. 

“However, agents report that the market remains very price-sensitive, and despite the current optimism, these are not the conditions to support substantial price growth. Sellers who are keen to secure their sale will still need to price realistically for their local market and avoid being overambitious at the start of marketing to give themselves the best chance of finding a buyer.”


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