A row of terraced houses in Brixton, London

The 10 most searched-for areas for home-hunters

London has once again been named the most searched-for location on Rightmove.

Searches for homes for sale in the capital increased by 1% from 2022 to 2023, whereas the number of buyers looking for homes in second-placed Cornwall decreased by 18% over the same period.

Our property expert, Tim Bannister, says: “Many traditionally popular areas maintained their allure amongst buyers, whilst cheaper areas were also high on the list for buyers last year with affordability stretched.”

We could be seeing home-buyers look to these more affordable cities as a result of what’s happened in the wider property market towards the end of 2022, and throughout 2023, when mortgage rates remained at a historically high level. Mortgage rates have been edging down since July 2023.

The 10 most searched-for locations of 2023

Most searched-for by buyers Most searched-for by renters
1. London 1. London
2. Cornwall 2. Manchester
3. Devon 3. Bristol
4. Glasgow 4. Glasgow
5. Bristol 5. Birmingham
6. Edinburgh 6. Liverpool
7. York 7. Leeds
8. Sheffield 8. Nottingham
9. Cambridge 9. Sheffield
10. Manchester 10. Cambridge

The quickest housing markets of 2023

The quickest local markets are typically in Scotland. The average time to find a buyer is 66 days in Great Britain, but 37 days in Scotland. Rosyth in Dunfermline, Fife, was 2023’s quickest market with the average home for sale finding a buyer in just 17 days.

Outside of Scotland, Redfield in Bristol was the quickest market, with homes finding a buyer in an average of 25 days.

In 2023, we saw lower-than-expected falls in asking prices, and good levels of demand from home-buyers for the right-priced homes. But if you’re thinking of selling your home in 2024, it’s going to be really important to price it competitively to give yourself the best chance to find a buyer more quickly. You can get an instant valuation to find out the estimated value of your home here, and check out how much homes have recently sold for in your area.

READ MORE: The step-by-step guide to selling a home

What’s the forecast for house prices in 2024?

In December, the average asking price of a home in Great Britain fell by 1.9% to £355,177. This year, we predict that average new seller asking prices will be 1% lower nationally by the end of 2024, as competition increases among sellers to find a buyer.

Tim says: “While it is early days for the 2024 housing market, it will be key to monitor activity as it ramps up through the end of winter and into spring, particularly to track whether sellers are pricing attractively enough to agree a sale with a buyer quickly.”

And what about mortgage rates?

Though mortgage and interest rates are still high compared to recent historically low levels, mortgage rates have been edging down since July.

The current average mortgage rate for a five-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.94%, down from 5.02% last week. The current average rate for a two-year fixed rate mortgage is 5.28%, down from 5.43% last week. The lowest available five-year fixed rate is 4.19%, and the lowest available two-year fixed rate is 4.54%.

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.

“Competition is heating up between lenders looking to take advantage of the seasonal jump in demand that we’re already seeing in January. The average rate for a five-year, fixed-rate mortgage has dropped below 5% for the first time since July.

“This can only be good news for those looking to move home and also for those rolling off fixed-rate deals in the coming months.”

You can check the current UK mortgage rates here. 

If you’re thinking about moving in 2024, a good way to find out how much you could borrow is to use a mortgage calculator. And to get a personalised result by applying for a Mortgage in Principle which will take you one step closer to a mortgage offer.

You can also take a look at the different types of mortgages and how to choose a mortgage term that meets your needs, both now and in the future.

And if you 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: 7 steps to getting a mortgage

The header image of this article is provided courtesy of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward – Sales, Clapham

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