An aerial view of houses in Hastings

House prices see biggest January rise since 2020

Many home-hunters are already getting their 2024 moving, with estate agents reporting a busy start to the new year.

And our latest house price data, which reflects what’s happening in the property market right now, shows that the number of new properties coming onto the market for sale is higher than in the first week of January last year. The level of demand from those looking to buy a home is also up compared to 2023.

“It’s certainly cold out there at this time of year, but the housing market is just heating up,” says estate agent Chris Rowson, Managing Director at Sharman Quinney in Cambridgeshire.

“Future sellers are getting their valuation appointments booked in, future buyers are enquiring and getting their viewings booked in. Most importantly, we’re seeing offers being made, and a high number at that. It is early days and not a time to get carried away, but we’ve had a good start.”

Another positive sign of future movers getting their 2024 budgets and plans in place is the number of people we’re seeing beginning the process of getting a Mortgage in Principle to see how much they’re likely to be able to borrow from a lender. Since the 27th of December, Rightmove has seen nine of its ten busiest days for people getting a Mortgage in Principle on Rightmove. January is on course to be the busiest month since the service was launched in 2022.

Strongest January monthly increase in new seller asking prices since 2020

The average asking price of a home in Great Britain has seen the biggest New Year bounce since 2020, rising by £4,571 (+1.3%) this month to reach almost £360,000. But this is still lower than this time last year, which shows that many new sellers are being realistic about their price expectations as the market continues to recover from the impact of historically higher mortgage rates.

There are also regional variations across Great Britain. You can check the latest average house price where you live here.

National average asking prices

Month Avg. asking price Monthly change Annual change
January 2024 £359,748 +1.3% -0.7%
December 2023 £355,177 -1.9% -1.1%

Three key things for 2024 home-buyers to know

Marginal dip in average asking prices predicted by the end of the year

Prices typically rise from a quiet December into a busier January, so this month’s increase was expected. Looking ahead, we predict that average new seller asking prices will be 1% lower nationally by the end of the year. The underlying level of good demand at the right price from buyers makes it unlikely that we will see a more significant drop in prices in 2024. Read our house price forecast for 2024

More new property listings than this time a year ago

The number of homes coming to market for sale is 15% higher than at the start of last year, following a record number of sellers launching on Rightmove on Boxing Day. The North East and South West regions have seen the biggest increase in new listings. But while there is now more choice for buyers, there still isn’t a glut of homes for sale, with the total number of available properties just 1% above the more normal market levels of 2019.

Mortgage rates have continued to edge down

There is overall a more stable backdrop for the mortgage market than at this time last year. Competition is heating up between lenders looking to take advantage of the seasonal jump in demand in January so far.

Our mortgage expert Matt Smith says: “We’re seeing some eye-catching, best-buy deals being offered by some lenders, with the lowest rates for two and five-year fixed-rate mortgages hitting the headlines after continuing to edge down in January. This is a positive indication that we will continue to see average rates continue to fall over the coming weeks.”

Check the current average UK mortgage rates here

The current housing market for home-sellers

More sales are being agreed

The most positive early indicator for 2024 is that the number of sales being agreed is 20% higher compared to the same period at the start of last year. This also shows that many sellers are pricing attractively enough to tempt buyers. But this is balanced with the conditions we were seeing in the housing market at the beginning of last year, when there was still a bit of mini-budget fallout and the impact of higher mortgage rates, so people took a step back to assess how that affected them.

Buyer demand has increased compared to a year ago

The number of potential buyers contacting estate agents about homes for sale in the first week of 2024 was 5% higher than in the same period last year, with the growth in activity strongest in London and the North East.

Pricing competitively will be key to finding a buyer this year

It’s really important for those who are keen to sell to price competitively, even with this new buyer activity, as the number of homes coming to market is outpacing the rise in the number of buyers enquiring.

Tim says: “Elevated mortgage rates and the wider cost-of-living squeeze are still limiting buyers’ spending power. Accurate and realistic pricing for their local area is the recipe for success for sellers looking to get moving in 2024, and it’s been proven that over-optimistic pricing makes a move much less likely.”

Overall, the numbers suggest that many are taking action to make their move in 2024, including some who may have paused their plans last year due to the more unsteady mortgage market.

“Traditionally we see a temporary slow-down in activity in the weeks before an election, which is expected to be held during the second half of 2024, as movers assess any impact that it may have on their housing plans. It will be important to keep a careful eye on this and on the impact of other economic news this year, but for now the data at the start of 2024 points to building momentum,” adds Tim.

Arranging a home valuation

If you’re thinking of moving and want to know the current estimated value of your home, you can use our instant valuation tool to get an online estimate of what your current home may be worth so you can get an early indication of what your budget might be when you’re looking to buy.

You‘ll be able to see if your home’s value has changed, and how much properties nearby have recently sold for. And every month, the estimate is refreshed, which you can see by setting up alerts or viewing your tracked properties within your MyRightmove account.

You can then get a full expert valuation of your home from an estate agent when the time comes to sell.

READ MORE: The 10 most searched-for areas for home-hunters

The header image for this article is provided courtesy of PCM Estate Agents, Hastings


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