Spring optimism sees market pick up pace

House prices are enjoying a spring lift in line with seasonal expectations, according to the latest data from Home.

Related topics:  Property,  House Prices,  Asking Prices
Property | Reporter
15th February 2024
For Sale 115

2023 was a challenging year for the property market and conse­quently many potential buyers stayed away, choosing to wait and see. There is reason, therefore, to believe that at least some of this pent-up demand will be unleashed on the market this year.

According to Home.co.uk's Asking Price Index for February, pricing suggests cautious optimism on the part of ven­dors and expectations of rising demand. Asking prices show a spring lift of 0.2% since last month across England and Wales but are down year-on-year, albeit by a mere 0.1% vs. Feb 2023.

Stock levels remain relatively low when compared to 2019 and other pre-COVID years, and this provides positive support for pricing. The total sales stock count for England and Wales has risen in line with seasonal expectations. The current total of unsold property is 440,674, around 16,800 more than last month.

Annualised growth in home market values for England and Wales was notably absent overall in 2023 but the stage is now set for a return to capital appreciation. The northern regions and Wales and Scotland are already ahead of the curve in this respect.

Current Typical Time on Market figures are consistent with pre-COVID years with large reductions in marketing times expected to appear in March and April.

At the regional level, Typical Time on Market figures indicate that the North of England, Scotland and Wales all continue to thrive, with activity over and above the pre-COVID years. Moreover, this enhanced momentum correlates closely with positive annualised price growth in those regions.

Greater London, the South East and South West regions now show an improvement in their respective market­ing times compared to 2019, therefore paving the way towards price growth. We expect the East of England and the Mid­lands to follow suit in due course.

Rental sector

Asking rents continue to show positive annualised growth in all regions except Greater London. Oversupply in the UK's largest rental market has pushed the mix-adjusted average down 3.4% year-on-year. Longer marketing times in the South East, East of England, East Mid­lands and Scotland indicate that further significant growth is unlikely.

UK asking rents are currently 3.9% above their February 2023 reading.

The annualised mix-adjusted average asking price growth across England and Wales is now -0.1%; in February 2023, the annualised rate of increase of home prices was 1.3%.

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