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Housing market buoyancy shows mortgage costs not a deterrent

New data from Zoopla suggests that the housing market is becoming buoyant despite widespread uncertainty over the exact direction of mortgage costs.

The portal’s latest housing market snapshot shows that all measures of sales activity are improving as pent-up demand returns to the market.

The number of sales agreed - one of the most reliable indicators of housing market health - is 15 per cent higher than a year ago. This uplift shows greater confidence to move house and more realistic pricing from sellers.


The North East (up 17 per cent) and London (up 16 per cent) are leading the rebound in sales numbers.

Meanwhile, buyer demand is 11 per cent higher than a year ago as buyers return to the housing market in 2024. Growing confidence among sellers is boosting the number of homes for sale, now 21 per cent higher than a year ago. This is increasing choice for would-be buyers and supporting the uplift in completed sale numbers.

A small proportion of sellers are reducing their asking price as a way to attract more buyer interest. These reductions are less common than a year ago but still above average, showing that buyers continue to be price sensitive in the face of high mortgage rates. The South East and East of England are seeing the most asking price reductions of five per cent or more.

There’s clear demand from homeowners and first-time buyers looking to move or buy their first home in 2024. This will support higher sales volumes but Zoopla says it does not expect house price growth to be any greater than it is now.

Zoopla research director Richard Donnell says: “The housing market is still adjusting to higher mortgage rates and reduced buying power, the impact of which has varied across the country. If you’re planning to sell your home this year, remain realistic on pricing and celebrate the fact that your home is likely to attract more buyer interest now than last year. This increases the likelihood of a successful sale.

“If you’re planning to buy a home, expect mortgage rates to remain within the four to five per cent range. They could move a little lower over the year, but this hinges on the Bank Rate and if (and when) it’s cut later in the year.

“Momentum in the sales market has been building over the last five months. I believe the housing market is on track for 10 per cent more sales in 2024 than in 2023, totalling 1.1 million, as greater supply boosts the potential for more sales.”


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