After a year of high mortgage rates and the continued cost-of-living crisis, there was significant pressure on the UK housing market in 2023.
But there may be an end to the gloomy news for property purchasers, as property experts predict that potential cuts to interest rates in 2024, as well as lower house prices in some locations, could provide some house hunters with new opportunities.
Property website Rightmove believes that new seller’s asking prices will be 1% lower across Britain by the end of 2024, with property expert Tim Bannister saying: “Buyers remain very price sensitive, so to agree a sale, sellers will likely need to price attractively in the new year.
“The current more settled mortgage market may encourage some movers who had put off their plans due to the more volatile mortgage market… Average mortgage rates have been steadily falling since July, and there are early signs there may be further cuts from lenders early in the new year.
“However, rates are likely to remain at elevated levels for much of next year while the Bank of England is signalling that the first base rate cut is not imminent, which will continue to put some pressure on affordability.
“Overall, we predict a modest average fall of 1% in national new seller asking prices next year, however, this is likely to be felt differently across local markets in Great Britain.
The Halifax also expects house prices to edge down in 2024, with Kim Kinnaird, director of Halifax Mortgages saying: “Our latest forecast suggests a fall of between 2% and 4% in 2024, though it should be noted, as with recent years, forecast uncertainty remains high given the current economic environment.”
Simon Gerrard, managing director of London-based Martyn Gerrard estate agents, added: “Inquiries and interest in buying a home remained high, but economic and interest rate uncertainty naturally caused many to put their move on hold and provided a degree of loss in buyer confidence.
“Even still, as we approach the new year, the clouds that have lingered over the property market appear to be clearing and we’re beginning to see daylight.”
“Mortgage lenders are starting to lower their interest rates, which is greatly encouraging, as this strongly suggests that once we see downward pressure on the base rate, lenders will respond in the right way and bring their rates down in competitive fashion.”