Market Update – April 2023
By Nick Staton – Owner Statons Estate Agents
Property sales return to pre-pandemic levels
April has historically been a busy month in the property business, as the weather warms up, gardens begin to bloom and with the lighter evenings, energised springtime buyers and sellers get the moving bug.
In recent years, we’ve not seen this traditional seasonal activity, as the property market was already incredibly busy with the buying frenzy and search for space of the pandemic years. It’s not been since 2019 that we’ve seen seasonal markets, until 2023 that is.
This year, the spring market started early, as I mentioned last month, the market continued its recovery with the early spring market. The strong market activity continued in April with more homes being listed, good levels of buyer demand, and sales agreed returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Confirming our own experience of market activity, the property portal Rightmove has also recently reported that sales agreed were just 1% lower last month than in March 2019.
Comparing what’s happening today with the same period in 2019 makes sense, as it gives an indicator of what we should expect from a more ‘normal’ seasonal property market, as this was before the start of the pandemic.
The return of these important market drivers to pre-pandemic levels is a crucial milestone for the property market, following the unprecedented market conditions of the past few years.
The Rightmove report makes a similar point, as their property data expert, Tim Bannister, writes – ‘The housing market is remaining surprisingly robust given the economic factors that have affected home-movers over the last six months. While the market is not moving at the exceptional pace that it has been over the last couple of years, it’s a positive sign that sales at a national level are being agreed at the same rate as the last more normal market of 2019’.
The return to London
Across our office network, we have progressively seen many of the people who, during the pandemic, decided to move to more rural or coastal locations, moving back to London. At the time the media referred to this as the ‘search for space’.
It would seem that this trend is now working in reverse with people returning to the city. Rightmoves data shows that much of the increase in sales agreed seen in recent weeks has been in flats, particularly in London. Although, across all property types, they’re up by 11% when compared to March 2019. Sales agreed on flats alone in the capital are up 23%, compared to the same period in 2019.
With the Bank of England’s continued increase in interest rates, in their attempts to control inflation, the bank interest rate rising to the highest level in 14 years. Despite this, the increase hasn’t fed through to mortgage rates recently, which have started to edge down in the past few months. The average 5-year fixed rate for a home-buyer with a 15% deposit was as high as 5.89% in October, but in March this reduced to 4.63%. Now is the time to shop around for the best mortgage deals if you’re thinking of buying a home.
Considering a move this Spring?
As the weather is warming up, so too is the property market, we are seeing an increased number of properties coming to the market and the best of the bunch always move quickly.
Here are a selection of our recently listed homes –
If you are thinking of buying, selling or letting a property, we are happy to offer specific advice and help you plan for your next move.
Please don’t hesitate to call me.
Thank you for reading
Nick Statons – Owner Statons Estate Agents
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