uk property

UK property market still “heading in right direction” for positive 2024

Thanks to the resilience of the UK property market, the positive momentum continues as we move through the year and investors are poised for 2024 to outperform 2023. 

There has been much more positive news in relation to house price trends, rental market growth and mortgage rates in recent months than there was for much of 2023, leading forecasters to believe the UK property market will remain buoyant as the year progresses.

This is in spite of the fact that some lenders have nudged mortgage rates up slightly once more in recent weeks in response to rising swap rates, with the prospect of the Bank of England lowering its base rate becoming slightly more distant. Goldman Sachs now expects a rate cut to happen in June, revised back from May.

But according to Knight Frank data, there are plenty of positive statistics showing that UK property is still in extremely high demand: for example, the number of offers made on property across the UK in January was 7% up on the same time last year.

The agency also predicts that transactions will increase this year, which was one of the main casualties of 2023 and was the main reason that property prices dipped in some areas. It also expects prices to rise by 3% over the course of this year, held back slightly by the mainstream London market, with improving growth figures in the four following years.

UK property market impacted by rates

While the financial markets had initially predicted five rate cuts across the Bank of England during 2024, Knight Frank points out that this has shrunk to three. One factor behind this includes stronger than expected wage growth, which hit 6.2% in Q4 2023 in the private sector, and has fuelled higher inflation.

Knight Frank therefore predicts that in the next two Monetary Policy Committee meetings, the current rate of 5.25% is expected to remain unchanged. When rates do come down, the hope and expectation is that lenders will follow suit, easing the situation for borrowers across the country.

According to one lender, HSBC, the “quality of its mortgage book remained strong”, having completed £23nm in gross mortgage lending over 2023, and an overall loan-to-value ratio of 53%, which Knight Frank points out indicates there are no “red lights flashing on the dashboard” in the mortgage market.

For property investors, the latest data from Moneyfactscompare has revealed that buy-to-let mortgage rates are currently at their lowest point since mid-2022, which is certainly cause for some optimism on that side of the UK property market.

The right direction

James Cleland, head of the Country business at Knight Frank, said: “The signs are positive and demand indicators are heading in the right direction ahead of the spring market. Many buyers are cautious about the wider economic environment and, as the last two months have reminded us, realistic pricing is key.”

Meanwhile, Rory Penn, head of London sales at Knight Frank, pointed out that the UK property outlook towards the end of 2023 was strong, but the start of this year has been “slower out of the blocks than anticipated”.

“The signs are pretty clear though that this year will be stronger than 2023 with offer levels up and buyer sentiment improving,” he added.

Next Wednesday, 6th March, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his spring Budget, and unlike the autumn statement, there is expected to be more to go on for the UK property sector in this announcement. Many are speculating that, as it is the pre-election Budget, there will be a number of “giveaways” from the party.

Read more UK housing market news here, or if you’re interested in investing in UK property in some of the most exciting locations across the country, get in touch with BuyAssociation today. 

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