This could actually be a happy new year

09 February, 2024

Times have been tough, what with COVID, international unrest and a cost of living crisis, but there’s finally some good news on the horizon.

Last year the Bank of England raised the base rate to its highest rate since 2008 in an attempt to rein in inflation. This caused interest rates to surge, peaking at 6.86% in July last year and putting an enormous strain on already struggling households as their mortgages and rents spiked alongside their other bills. We have seen a lot of instability in the housing markets, as a result, with a rush of people forced to put their houses on the market, a swathe of first time buyers pausing their hunt and stagnation in the higher value properties hit by the biggest mortgage rises. This has caused house prices to fall. With so much uncertainty as to which way rates would go, lots of people have battened down the hatches and cancelled all thoughts of a move unless they were in dire financial straits.

Since then, however, rates have been slowly but steadily dropping. Today it’s possible to get a fixed rate below 4% and they are likely to hold steady for some time. This has given the market a much needed boost and people are entering 2024 with a much more positive outlook. Mortgages are now much more affordable so people are taking their plans to move off ice. Others in less dire straits are also considering downsizing, knowing that it would ease their finances in the event of any return to higher rates, but without the urgency that tumbled prices last year.

According to statistics released by Zoopla, 17% more new sales were agreed in December 2023 than in December of the previous year, and demand was 19% higher than the same period last year. This return of activity gives the market a great variety of available properties, which is good for buyers.

Over the first month of this year Madison Fox has seen sales increase by more than three times compared with January last year, and the trend looks set to continue. 

Happy new year, indeed!

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