The start of 2024 has seen a slew of more positive news on the housing market. Over the last month, we’ve seen further signs that house price falls are slowing, alongside a further drop in average mortgage rates for new borrowers with some very competitive deals at 60% loan to value.
This reflects what we reported in our most recent house price index: a 17% increase in new sales agreed as buyers sought to lock down new deals at the end of 2023.
This improvement in market activity looks to be rolling over into the start of 2024, driven by improving mortgage rates.
LONDON AND SOUTH EAST
The first full week back after the new year has seen buyer interest jump out of the blocks faster than last year and the pre-pandemic period in 2019.
It’s early days but our data shows demand at the end of the first week of January was more than 10% ahead of the same period a year ago.
Demand has jumped most in London and the South East, where house price gains over recent years have been much lower than the rest of the UK, which has helped improve housing affordability.
Our UK house price index shows that prices are 1.1% lower than a year ago, with signs that the scale of price falls is slowing and sales volumes are now starting to improve with buyers returning to the market.
While the Zoopla house price index has recorded a modest fall in UK house prices over the last 12 months, the profile of price changes varies widely across the UK.
The largest price falls are up to 4% and concentrated across southern England in markets which saw the greatest demand over the pandemic, including those in the East of England and Kent. Prices