The UK property market has shown resilience over the last 6 months despite initial concerns and media speculation surrounding the impact of the mini-budget and higher interest rates. In our previous articles in December and July, we anticipated the market to remain stable in 2023 with minor possible adjustments to prices. And it is exactly what happened.
According to Nationwide data, property prices in the UK saw a 0.5% increase from March to April. Similarly, Rightmove reported a 1.8% price jump in May (compared to April), while Zoopla documented a yearly increase in April of 4.1% compared to April 2022.
Properties continue to be sold, albeit at a slightly slower pace than the preceding year, while buyers have got more time to choose and negotiate. According to OnTheMarket, in April 2023 43% of properties have gone under offer within 30 days compared to 63% the year before. This is nothing unusual, quite the opposite: the market is now gradually settling into a “new old normal”. The extraordinary surge in prices and activity witnessed between 2020 and 2022 was rather an outlier period whereas current conditions reflect a return to usual pre-pandemic market dynamics.
While the overall market demonstrates stability and offers space for negotiation for buyers, specific regions and areas within the UK have experienced significant demand and continued momentum. For instance, North London areas renowned for their excellent schools and good infrastructure, such as High Barnet and Muswell Hill, have not witnessed any reduced activity at all. In these areas, correctly priced properties attract offers within a matter of days and are even subject to competitive bidding among prospective buyers.
Our team has also encountered similar trends in Kensington. Recently we agreed a sale for a beautiful flat before it even hit the open market! We priced it correctly and targeted the right audience of potential buyers. We brought one of them for a viewing within 24 hours of the seller signing our agreement before even the professional photos were done. The offer was made the following day and the deal agreed a few days later, it has now exchanged. This flat was previously on the market with another agent to no avail for four months at a price point only 6% higher but even this change (plus our hands-on market targeting) made the critical difference.
It is not uncommon for sellers to adopt a “wait-and-see” tactic: initially listing a property at a higher price and subsequently reducing it. We can say that it doesn’t work nowadays. To maximise visibility and optimise the chances of a successful sale, it is crucial to adopt the right pricing approach from the beginning. Portals’ algorithms (like Zoopla and Rightmove) prioritise listings based on submission date, meaning that older listings will be pushed to the bottom of search results. Even if the price is later adjusted, the property doesn’t go up in the search. In addition, potential buyers may interpret the reduction as a reflection of the property’s quality, leading to doubt and hesitation. The first two weeks of marketing a property are vital in terms of exposure, as it is during this period that listings receive the highest visibility. According to Rightmove, if priced correctly 75% of listed properties receive a call within 7 days. Sellers must seize this initial window of opportunity, as it becomes significantly more challenging to attract buyers once this crucial phase has passed.