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Housing market shows signs of picking up

Signs of life were seen in the UK housing market in the new year with a rise in the number of mortgages being approved.

Activity remains weak overall, with potential buyers still nervous about high interest rates.

But the latest Bank of England data shows approvals for house purchases rose to 55,200 in January from 51,500 in December.

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This was the highest level since October 2022. Borrowing on credit cards also picked up last month. People took on £1.9bn more in credit on cards, car finance and other loans in January than they repaid.

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Mortgage lenders have been shifting the interest rates charged on home loans at a rapid rate since the start of the year. This started with some significant cuts to the cost of new fixed-rate deals.

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BBC News

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Why the ‘mood music’ surrounding the housing market outside London has changed

An influx of new residents into Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow helped the housing market remain resilient during 2023, according to a new report.

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New research from global property advisor JLL shows there was a surge in demand from renters and buyers for prime residential properties across the UK’s ‘big six’ despite high inflation and interest rates.

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The report, which tracks residential development activity, prices and rents across the six areas, highlighted a desire from city centre residents to live in ‘vibrant, highly-amenitised and well-connected central locations’.

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City A.M.

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Calls grow louder for urgent stamp duty cut to boost property market

Propertymark is the latest trade body to call on the Bank of England to cut interest rates to boost demand for property.

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It sees lower rates as key to increasing affordability levels and consumer confidence, particularly among first-time buyers, as well as ease the financial strains on homeowners in general.

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The news comes as property website Zoopla found that people who are buying their first home are paying an average of £244,100 – this is £20,300 below the local market average.

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Source: Property Industry Eye

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Buy-to-Let Watch: Grab 2024 with both hands

Last year’s mortgage market volatility was unprecedented, to say the least.

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We saw ongoing interest-rate rises, consecutive base-rate increases, and a huge (and often contentious) public discussion about what could be the most extensive legislation changes the sector had ever seen, by way of the Renters (Reform) Bill.

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Speaking with industry peers and my landlord clients, it’s fair to say we’re all happy to put 2023 behind us. And, what’s more, this upcoming year shows a much brighter outlook for the property market.

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Mortgage Strategy

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House prices fall by -1.4% in December – ONS

Average house price annual inflation was negative 1.4% in the 12 months to December 2023, compared with negative 2.3% (revised estimate) in the 12 months to November 2023, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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The average UK house price was recorded at £285,000, which is £4,000 lower than 12 months ago.

Average house prices in the 12 months to December 2023 decreased in England to £302,000 (negative 2.1%), decreased in Wales to £214,000 (negative 2.5%) and increased in Scotland to £190,000 (3.3%).

The average house price increased in the year to Q4 (October to December) 2023 to £178,000 in Northern Ireland (1.4%).

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On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, average UK house prices increased by 0.1% between November 2023 and December 2023, compared with a decrease of 0.8% during the same period 12 months ago.

Of English regions, annual house price inflation was highest in the North West, where prices increased by 1.2%.

London was the English region with the lowest annual inflation, where prices decreased by 4.8% in the 12 months to December 2023.

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Source: The Intermediary

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UK house prices rise at fastest rate since January 2023

UK house prices rose 2.5% in the year to January, recording the biggest increase since January last year, as lower mortgage rates and fading inflationary pressures led to increased buyer and seller confidence, Halifax has said.

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January marked the fourth consecutive monthly rise, with a 1.3% uplift on December, the UK’s biggest mortgage lender said, with the average home costing £291,000, £3,900 more than in December.

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Kim Kinnaird, the director at Halifax Mortgages, said: “The recent reduction of mortgage rates from lenders as competition picks up, alongside fading inflationary pressures and a still-resilient labour market has contributed to increased confidence among buyers and sellers.

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Source: The Guardian

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Have House Prices Fallen Or Risen In 2023?

9 2023 was a tough year for the property market. With an unstable mortgage market, where rates went on a rollercoaster ride, demand was subdued. Many commentators were predicting property prices to decline as a result. But have house prices fallen or have they risen in 2023?
House prices are often seen as a reliable indicator of the health of the property market. And while not infallible, they can offer an insight into how confident sellers and buyers are in the market.

The last year was not the best in terms of confidence in the market. Rising mortgage rates and high inflation has forced many people to put their plans to buy a new home on hold.

There was much speculation how the year will end regarding prices, with many predicting that they will fall. Now that we have data from several industry insiders, can we determine whether house prices have fallen or risen in 2023?

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Halifax Announces Slight Rise In House Prices in 2023
After Nationwide and Rightmove, Halifax has released its latest House Price Index for December 2023. The data shows that house prices have risen by 1.1% compared to November last year.

According to the lender’s figures, this is the third monthly price rise in a row, pushing up the average UK house price to £287,105.

Year-on-year, Halifax’s House Price Index suggests that house prices have risen by 1.7% in 2023, compared to 2022. This means house prices were £4,800 higher in December than in December the previous year.

However positive these figures appear, they contradict data from Nationwide and Rightmove.

Nationwide’s House Price Index for December 2023 showed that house prices have stagnated on a monthly basis in the final month of the year. Compared to December 2022, house prices have fallen by 1.8%.

Rightmoves’ final House Price Index of 2023 also says the year has ended with a decline in house prices by 1.1% compared to the year before. Their data put the monthly house price decline in December at 1.9%, compared to November.

So what’s going on? Have house prices fallen or risen? The difference is down to the use of different datasets.

Halifax and Nationwide are likely to base their figures on data from properties bought with their mortgages, Rightmove uses property prices from all properties listed on their portal.

As such, Rightmove’s data seems to be the most complete. However, not all properties are listed on the portal. This means that all these figures have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The most complete data to establish if prices have risen or fallen comes from land registry data. So we will have to wait for the Office forNational Statistics’ House Price Index to know for sure, which will be released mid to end of January.

But the likelihood is that house prices will have fallen by around 1% at the end of December 2023 compared to the previous year.

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Predictions For Next Year
While the currently available data doesn’t help to definitively answer the question of have house prices fallen or risen, there is more consensus about what direction prices will go this year.

Most commentators, including Rightmove and Nationwide, agree that house prices are likely to decline in 2024. Even Halifax believes that house prices will drop by between 2% and 4%.

Despite mortgage rates having come down recently as lenders compete for borrowers, mortgage rates are still at an elevated level. Inflation is also slowing, but prices for many everyday items are still high, putting pressure on many household budgets.

The current economic uncertainty will likely continue into 2024, keeping many buyers and sellers cautious.

Source: Property Road

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Property industry delivers verdict on new UK house price data

Property prices in the UK rose for the third consecutive month in December 2023, according to the latest Halifax HPI data.

The cost of an average UK home rose to £287,105, up £3,066 (+1.1%) from November, reaching the highest level since March 2023.

According to Halifax, this means the housing market beat expectations in 2023 and grew by 1.7% on an annual basis.

The average property price is now £4,800 higher than it was in December 2022.

Kim Kinnaird, director for Halifax Mortgages, said: “Whilst it’s encouraging that we saw growth in the last three months of the year, this was preceded with property price falls for six consecutive months between April and September.

“The growth we have seen is likely being driven by a shortage of properties on the market, rather than the strength of buyer demand. That said, with mortgage rates continuing to ease, we may see an increase in confidence from buyers over the coming months.”

Across all the UK regions, Northern Ireland recorded the strongest house price growth in 2023, with properties increasing by 4.1% to £192,153. Scotland saw property prices rise by 2.6% to £205,170.

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At the other end of the scale, the South East fell most sharply, with houses there now averaging £376,804, down by £17,755 (-4.5%).

Kinnaird said: “As we move through 2024, the UK property market will continue to reflect the wider economic uncertainty and buyers and sellers are likely to be naturally cautious when considering making a move.

“While wage growth is now above inflation, helping to ease cost of living pressures for some and improving housing affordability, interest rates are likely to remain elevated for as long as inflation remains markedly above the Bank of England’s target.

“Our latest forecast suggests house prices could fall between 2% and 4% during the coming year, although, as with recent years, forecast uncertainty remains high given the current economic climate.”

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More reaction

Anthony Codling, managing director, equity research, RBC Capital Markets, said: “The demise of the UK housing market is somewhat over reported. Most, including us, thought house prices would fall during 2023, and most think they will fall in 2024, but not us.

“With rising wages, falling inflation, falling mortgage rates, and increasing talk of election-related housing stimulus packages, we expect house prices to rise in 2024. Our pessimism was misplaced in 2023, and we don’t want to make the same mistake twice.”

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Source: Property Industry Eye

By Jerome Smail

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The Future of the UK Property Market: Analysing Interest Rates in 2024 


The UK property market has always been a significant focus for investors, homeowners, and renters alike. As we look ahead to the year 2024, one crucial factor that will shape the market is interest rates. In this blog post, we will delve into the potential impact of interest rates on the UK property market, exploring the key factors driving their movement and what this might mean for buyers, sellers, and investors. 

Understanding Interest Rates 

Before we discuss the future of interest rates, it’s important to grasp their significance in the property market. Interest rates are set by the Bank of England to control inflation and influence economic growth. When interest rates are low, borrowing becomes cheaper, leading to increased demand in the property market. Conversely, high interest rates can deter potential buyers due to increased mortgage costs. Therefore, fluctuations in interest rates can significantly impact the property market’s dynamics. 

Factors Influencing Interest Rates 

Several factors influence interest rates, and understanding these can help predict their movement in 2024. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) considers various economic indicators, such as inflation, GDP growth, and employment rates. Additionally, external factors like global economic conditions and political events can also affect interest rates. As we approach 2024, the Committee will closely monitor these indicators and adjust rates accordingly. 

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The Impact of Interest Rates on Buyers 

Interest rates play a crucial role in determining affordability for potential buyers. In a low-interest-rate environment, mortgage repayments are more manageable, allowing buyers to enter the market and potentially drive up property prices. However, if interest rates rise significantly in 2024, mortgage repayments may become less affordable, leading to reduced demand and potentially stabilizing or lowering property prices. 

The Impact of Interest Rates on Sellers 

Higher interest rates can also affect sellers in the property market. If mortgage costs increase, potential buyers may be deterred, leading to a decrease in demand for properties. This could result in longer selling times and potentially lower sale prices. On the other hand, if interest rates remain low or decrease, sellers may benefit from increased demand and potentially higher sale prices. 

The Impact of Interest Rates on Investors 

Interest rates can significantly impact property investors. Low interest rates make borrowing cheaper, allowing investors to finance their purchases more affordably. This can lead to increased investment activity in the property market. However, if interest rates rise, investors may face higher financing costs, potentially reducing their purchasing power and limiting investment opportunities. 

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Predictions for 2024 

While it is challenging to predict future interest rates with certainty, experts suggest that interest rates in 2024 will largely depend on economic conditions. If the UK economy experiences strong growth, it is likely that interest rates will gradually rise. Conversely, if economic recovery is slower, interest rates are likely to remain low or even decrease further. The Bank of England will continue to monitor economic indicators and adjust rates accordingly to maintain stability. 


The future of the UK property market in 2024 will be heavily influenced by interest rates. As buyers, sellers, and investors navigate these market dynamics, it is crucial to stay informed about the factors driving interest rate movements. By understanding the impact of interest rates on affordability, demand, and investment opportunities, individuals can make informed decisions in the dynamic landscape of the UK property market in 2024. 

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Savills predicts over 8% annualised returns in eight UK property sectors for 2024

Savills forecasts that eight asset classes in the UK property market are set to achieve annualised returns exceeding 8% for 2024.

This includes buy-to-let in the North West, London industrial properties, and retail warehouses, which are expected to be the top performers, with annualised investment returns between 8.5% and 9.2% from 2024-2028.

The upcoming year is seen as an opportune time for commercial investors, as retail, industrial, and office spaces are projected to be more affordable. The private rented sector’s challenges are likely to prompt institutional landlords to focus more on Built to Rent and Purpose Built Student Accommodation.

Farmland is also identified as a key area, expected to contribute significantly to net zero initiatives. Demand for prime arable land, primarily for food production, is anticipated to remain high, influenced by global events and environmental concerns.

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Richard Merryweather, Savills joint head of UK investment, highlights the positive shift in the market: “The factors that drove falls in UK property values and transaction levels over the last two years are expected to improve in 2024. There will be significant opportunity – especially in the commercial and residential spaces – for investors to buy at the bottom of the market.”

In 2024, investment focus is expected to shift to asset-specific basics rather than sector-wide trends. Strategic logistics projects, prime and green office spaces, and certain retail market segments are identified as areas with potential for better than average rental growth. The residential market is also expected to recover, with prospects for growth in mainstream house prices by 2025.

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By Ryan Fowler

Source: The Intermediary