Published 3 months ago

April Market Update

April Market Update

How did the property market fair in March? We were keen to see the latest statistics following a fall in inflation (dropping to 3.8% in February) and a base rate held at 5.25%. Here are 9 things we learnt about the UK property market last month.

1) Asking prices crept up: every month, Rightmove analyses its listings to establish the UK’s average asking price for new-to-market properties. In March, the average asking price was £368,118. This was 1.5% more than recorded in February – equivalent to £5,279 extra.   

An increasing number of ‘sold’ boards

2) More sales were agreed: Rightmove also reported a greater volume of sales agreed. In fact, this figure is now 13% higher than in March 2023. The uptick is certainly linked to demand. The portal also states that buyer demand is 8% higher now, when compared to the same point in 2023.  

News on buyer-seller negotiations

3) Discounts reduced: the gap between advertised asking prices and accepted offers is narrowing, revealed Zoopla. The portal found sellers in March were accepting an average of £10,000 (3.9%) below their asking price. This compares to an average discount of £14,250 (4.5%) seen in November 2023.  

4) Mortgage approvals edged higher: the Bank of England’s latest mortgage lending figures showed buyers are returning to the market. There were 60,400 net mortgage approvals for home purchases in February – up from 56,100 in January. Net approvals for remortgaging also increased from 30,900 to 37,700 during the same timeframe.  

5) Annual house price growth increased: Nationwide’s March House Price Index illustrated the effects of growing confidence in the property market. The annual rate of house price growth is edging higher every month. In March 2024, the average house price was 1.6% higher than the figure noted in March 2023.   

6) Buying and selling inquiry launched: The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has launched an inquiry into how property is bought and sold in England. Coming under scrutiny will be the role of conveyancers and estate agents, as well as referral fees and the matter of transparency. There will also be debates around reservation agreements, upfront information, and reducing instances of gazumping, gazundering and aborted sales.  

7) Monthly rent rises returned: HomeLet’s most recent rental index found the UK’s average monthly rent is now £1,273. This is an increase of 0.9% between February and March. Annually, rents across the UK have increased by an average of 7.5%.  

Look North 

Looking at specific areas, the North East led the pack, with rent rises of 2.1%. This was followed closely by Scotland (up 2%) and Northern Ireland (up 1.9%). Only Wales (down 0.4%) and the East Midlands (down 0.1%) posted rental value decreases.  

8) Scotland’s own Renters’ Reform Bill unveiled: The Housing (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 26th March. This legislation closely mirrors England’s Renters’ Reform Bill. The proposals include controversial rent controls, which would limit how and when landlords could increase rents.   

Tenants’ rights set to strengthen

The Bill also seeks to make it easier for tenants to keep pets, redecorate and secure damages if they are illegally evicted. There would also be a change to the eviction process in favour of tenants.  

9) Land shake up also proposed: another piece of legislation introduced to Scottish Parliament is The Land Reform (Scotland) Bill. This pertains to how land is owned, managed and sold in the country’s rural and island communities. If enacted, the Bill could see large parcels of land split before sale, and would encourage locals to use their ‘right to buy’ to purchase land where they live.  

If you would like to know more about your local property market, please get in touch.

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