15 January 2024

2023 was a year to forget in the property market.  Rising interest rates and inflationary pressures on household budgets resulted in fewer houses being bought and prices falling somewhere between 5 and 10 percent from their peak in the late summer of 2022. 

So, what should one expect of 2024?  Well, we are looking forward to the year and expect a stronger market with prices holding, more buyers and a greater number of transactions than 2023.  Is this not just the preternatural optimism and exuberance commonplace amongst estate agents, we hear you ask?  Well perhaps it is, but we are basing our opinion on some facts as well as a less exact omen.

Firstly, the Bank of England base rate has not risen since September 2023, and expert predictions suggest that it will not rise again in 2024.  As a consequence, lenders have started to cut the rates on offer to new and existing borrowers.  David Bedford has long maintained that since he began his career in estate agency as a fresh-faced negotiator in 1956, the single factor that has influenced the market most consistently has been interest rates.  Bearing this in mind, perhaps it is no surprise that our offices in Norfolk and Suffolk agreed more sales in November than any other month last year, although in less volatile times our best months invariably come in the months from May to September.

Furthermore, the country will go to the polls some time before January 2025, most likely in the autumn.  Whilst a General Election has in the past caused the market to slow, we believe that this year it is less likely to affect the market, largely because most people think the result is a foregone conclusion and consequently have already made their plans accordingly. 

Finally, our portent of better times ahead; in the summer of 2022 at the peak of the market, we sold a house for a long-standing client who had started his career with a market stall before expanding rapidly, ending up with a national network of stores making him a multi-millionaire, many times over.  We doubt very much this to have been the result of blind luck, this man is especially astute.  Having sold at the peak of the market, he rang us in the first week of January to register his intention to buy in 2024.  So if he thinks 2024 is the year to buy, what are you waiting for?