The national housing market remained resilient and stable in October, all the more remarkable given the ongoing economic headwinds, high cost of living and elevated mortgage rates.
The Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates in September (and again in November at the time of writing) is playing a big part in that. After 14 consecutive rate hikes, borrowers have finally been able to breathe a welcome sigh of relief and dare to hope that rates may have peaked. Even if another rate rise is required to keep inflation in check, there’s a growing perception that the worst is behind us, although borrowers will have to get used to paying more for their mortgages than in recent years.
Our data shows that on the whole, buyer and seller sentiment was stable in October. Just under three-quarters of buyers (72%) were confident that they’d purchase a property within the next three months compared to 74% in September. Seller confidence also dipped slightly, with 58% of UK sellers confident that they’d sell within the next three months in October, down from 61% in September. Further stability is in evidence with just over a third of properties (36%) Sold Subject to Contract within 30 days of first being listed in October, down slightly from 37% in September 2023. However, this number is well below the 60% recorded in October 2022, when the market was significantly more buoyant before the fallout from Prime Minister Liz Truss’ ill fated mini-Budget.
While the overall picture is one of stability and consistency, the housing market is not a single entity but made up of many regional markets, as evident in October’s data. Drill down to the regions and there are some significant variations. For example, in the North East there was a