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UK Property Market Sees Record Number of Home Valuations

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    More Seller Enquiring About Expert Property Valuations in January

    The UK property market continues to recover from a subdued 2023, with more buyers and sellers taking a chance on housing in the opening weeks of 2024.

    While elevated mortgage rates and inflation meant fewer people were buying and selling property over the last month, property investors have begun the year in earnest, according to Rightmove data.

    The property site noted many sellers requesting home valuation in January 2024, marking a boom in activity that could indicate renewed confidence in the UK housing market.

    Let’s look at those Rightmove figures in more detail to see what they could mean for UK buy-to-let investment.

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      How Many Sellers Requested Home Valuations in the Opening Weeks of 2024?

      As stated, estate agents witnessed a record number of sellers requesting an expert valuation of their property.

      According to Rightmove data, these requests were 23% higher during January 2024 than when the record was set a year prior.

      Rightmove looks to a stable mortgage market, which has shown calm and poise during the early days of 2024, as one of the reasons for an uptick in buyer and seller activity. Figures show that average mortgage rates continue to trend downwards, with Rightmove putting the average five-year rate at 4.64%, an improvement from the 6.11% peak in July 2023.

      Rightmove property expert Tim Bannister weighed in on the increase in home valuation requests, stating:

      “It’s early days, but these figures suggest estate agents have had a busy start to 2024, with more home-moving activity than in January 2023. This is likely to be a combination of home-movers who have recently decided to make this the year to find a new home and potential home-buyers who took a step back last year and paused their plans while the outlook for mortgage rates was more unclear.”

      Find Out More: Check out our guides on buying property in the UK from overseas and buying property through a limited company for more property-related insights.

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      How Does the Housing Market Look in Early 2024?

      According to Rightmove statistics, the year has started positively for property investing. In January, there was a 13% increase in new properties for sale compared to last year, and estate agents are receiving 7% more enquiries from potential buyers.

      This correlates with the latest RICS survey, which indicates improvement across multiple sales metrics in the property market, noting an uptick in buyer demand, agreed sales, and new instructions.

      A promising indication of people preparing for the year is the growing number of individuals initiating the Mortgage in Principle process on Rightmove to assess their borrowing capacity. January marked the busiest month for this service since its launch in 2022.

      The average home asking price in Great Britain has climbed to nearly £360,000 per Rightmove data. Despite this, the figure remains lower than the same period last year. This suggests that new sellers are being realistic about pricing as the market recovers from the impact of historically higher mortgage rates. This is a continuation of the trend seen towards the end of last year when sellers applied considerable discounts to their properties before Christmas to push through a sale.

      These figures suggest that affordability is slowly coming back to the market. With inflation falling to 4% and expected to reach the 2% goal the Bank of England set before the summer of 2024, we may see mortgages become more affordable in the next few months and more people buying an investment property.

      While it is too early to suggest interest rates will come down, the latest MPC meeting saw the Bank of England hold interest rates at 5.25%. At the same time, one member voted to reduce rates, a sign that forecasters are growing more confident in the market. It is important to remember that mortgage lenders adjust their prices based on forecasts rather than the current interest rates. With property market predictions cautiously optimistic for 2024 – Knight Frank predicts a 3% rise in property prices – the average mortgage rates will likely continue to fall in the coming months.

      Take a look at our recent buy-to-let area guides for more information surrounding the UK rental market:

      UK Property Market Sees Record Number of Home Valuations

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      Dale Barham

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      Dale is a property news and onsite content writer at RWinvest.