THE housing market this year has been better than many predicted, with lower than expected falls in asking prices, and good levels of demand from home-buyers for the right-priced homes, writes Chris Willey.

However, rising mortgage and interest rates have stretched the affordability of many people planning to move. The pacesetting property website Rightmove forecast a year ago that average new seller asking prices would drop by 2% in 2023. These are currently 1.3% lower year-on-year, so that’s less than they predicted.

What do Rightmove predict for 2024? They report that the housing market is continuing to return to more normal levels of activity following the frenetic post-pandemic period and next year predict that average new seller asking prices will be 1% lower by the end of the year, as competition increases among sellers to find a buyer. So no suggestion of an imminent boom bust from Rightmove.

With the economy continuing to falter, if you’re selling a home in 2024, careful pricing will surely be key. The average time for a seller to find a buyer has jumped from 45 days this time last year, to 66 days now. Home-sellers who have been competitive on price have been able to find a buyer more quickly. As we go forward, new sellers will need to compete with their sensibly priced neighbours, and accept their estate agent should start with a competitive price, rather than set it too high then need to reduce it later. It’s pretty clear that pricing right at the outset maximises the initial impact among buyers and gives new sellers a much greater likelihood of a successful sale.

Based on the information and statistics at my disposal, together with my regular communication with Taunton agents, I predict that properly priced and well presented property in good locations should sell quickly at prices similar to those paid in 2023. Others will have to accept 5-10% less. Todays buyers are thinner on the ground and quite simply won’t pay over the top. 

Chris Willey is an Independent Property Appraiser and welcomes enquiries on Taunton 01823 412661.