House prices beginning to look a little more optimistic

  • Clare Viner
    Clare Viner
House prices beginning to look a little more optimistic

“The average UK house price fell by 0.2% in the year to February 2024 according to the latest government house price index, while on a monthly basis there was a slight uptick of 0.4%. This leaves the average price of a property in the UK sitting at £281,000.

“The housing market has been relatively quiet of late, and the various house price indices have differed in their reporting, making it difficult to know the true state of the market. Mortgage rates have also fluctuated, falling earlier in the year only to tick up again a few weeks later. Overall, however, things are now starting to look a little more steady and though there has been some downward pressure on prices, the crash that many had anticipated has not materialised.

“Just this morning we have seen inflation take a step closer to the Bank of England’s 2% target, but it is falling at a slower pace than had been hoped. Though the labour market is also beginning to see a real impact from the current level of interest rates with the unemployment level rising to 4.2%, rate cuts are still not expected until later in the year. Nonetheless, the prospect of a cut could translate into lower mortgage rates which could make moving home or taking the first step onto the property ladder more affordable and thus more attractive to prospective buyers who have been stuck in ‘wait and see’ mode for some time now. According to the March 2024 RICS UK Residential Survey, buyer demand has already been rising, with a net balance of +8% of respondents citing an increase in new buyer enquiries during March, marking the most positive result since February 2022. We can expect this trend to continue which could reignite the housing market and buoy house prices.

“The outlook for the housing market is beginning to look a little more optimistic, particularly if the Bank of England cuts rates sooner rather than later. For those who are looking to purchase a property this year, it is important to consult with a mortgage adviser to ensure you explore the options available to help you best possible decisions for your circumstances.”