"Don't expect the increased activity to reflect in house price data. The rush to complete is for property sold many weeks before, meaning new sales will be few and far between until January"
- Jonathan Rolande - NAPB
The National Association of Property Buyers say there are “positive signs” about the remaining few weeks of 2023, with spokesman Jonathan Rolande saying that prices may buck the trend of recent falls.
He said: “Despite what many people think, the run-up to Christmas can be a good time for the property market. It's true that the number of people who start looking to buy or sell reduces in the early winter months but there is good news too.
“Those committed to moving will be focused on getting to the all-important completion day in time for Christmas.
“Don't expect the increased activity to reflect in house price data though, the rush to complete is for property sold many weeks before, meaning new sales will be few and far between until January.
“When figures for the final quarter are released, they may show sufficient activity to have supported prices that have prevented another drop – that is about the best we can hope for as we see out the year.
“If that trend continues into 2024, many in the property industry will breathe a huge sigh of relief – it could have been a lot worse.”
Outlining why there are reasons to be positive he continued: “There is some cautious optimism around too. I hear talk of landlords looking to buy again, tempted back by higher rents – sadly, what's bad for tenants is good for them. Interest rates have quite possibly peaked, making 'cash in the bank' a less attractive option for many who will be tempted to put their nest egg into a home for themselves, a relative or buy-to-let.”
Mr Rolande also thinks a looming election might benefit the market.
He explained: “An election may lend a boost to the market as the government tries to create a 'feel-good factor' to boost their chances. Fuel bills have dropped and if the winter is mild, we will all spend less of our income keeping warm this year, compared to last. Some will see an increase in their pay packet following the reduction of National Insurance in January and a rise in the minimum wage in April will help many.
"But these 'wins' are dwarfed by the cost of goods, food and services that have rocketed in the last two years and whilst they are going up more slowly now, they are not falling in price. The economy is in a fragile state with many still on the very edge of affordability for everyday expenses.
He concluded: "The property market may have scraped through this year, but there are still many things that could blow it off course again so we shouldn't take anything for granted.”