Are you thinking of moving home in 2023? Whether you’re already home-hunting, you’re ready to kick-start your search, or thinking of selling your home, here’s what’s happening in the housing market as we begin the new year.

Take a look…

Home-buyers will have more choice in 2023

Boxing Day traditionally signals the start of the housing market beginning to get busier into spring, after a quieter December while people enjoy the festivities. Our property expert, Tim Bannister, says:

“Boxing Day is traditionally the start of activity ramping up into January and the spring selling season after Christmas, as people return to their search or consider a New Year move. We’ve seen some promising activity and familiar patterns over the festive period this year, which are good signs for the year ahead.”

This Boxing Day, we saw a record number of people choosing to put their homes up for sale, 46% more than on the same day in 2021. Tim says these sellers who got a head start and have their home already up for sale will now be benefitting from the jump in viewings over the next few weeks, as people settle back into their usual routines.

In recent years, there haven’t been enough properties on the market for the amount of people looking to move home. This meant that home-movers needed to act extremely quickly to secure the home they wanted, and pushed house prices to an all time high.

Some more choice for buyers this year is likely to mean homes are on the market for longer before finding the right buyer. Tim says:

“After such frenetic market conditions over the last few years, this year’s calmer market will better suit measured movers who prefer to take their time to find the right property”.

2023 home-movers are ready and waiting

2022 was an extremely busy year for the property market, with house prices pushed to record highs. And despite a calmer housing market this year – which we last saw before the pandemic – there are still lots of buyers ready to launch their home search in 2023.

When comparing the week of Christmas to the week of Boxing Day, there was a 20% increase in views of homes for sale on Rightmove.

“The jump in number of views of properties for sale pre and post-Christmas is another good sign that the new choice available is getting a lot of attention from future buyers. After a pause for the festivities, those wanting to buy this year will be ready to get back to their plans and assess where they’d like to live and what they can afford”, says Tim.

What’s happening with house prices?

In December, the average price of a home in Great Britain was £359,137, and we’re forecasting that property prices will fall by an average of 2% in 2023. But because our house price forecast for the upcoming year is based on a national average, we expect housing market activity, including house price changes, to differ depending on where you live.

This is because there are lots of smaller, local-level markets at play, with trends varying depending on the types of property on the market, the location’s desirability, and what buyers looking in that area can afford.

Check the average asking price where you live in our  December House Price Report.

So, finding the right estate agent will be key

And because we’re likely to see these local markets at play, finding an expert local estate agent, that knows your area and its trends inside out, will be important. You should choose an agent you feel you can trust to guide you through the process of selling your home.

It can also be a good idea to choose an agent who has most recently sold properties like yours in your area, as they will have the most up to date list of potential buyers for your home.

How to choose the right estate agent

What could the most recent interest rate rise mean for getting a mortgage?

There’s been more stability in the financial markets in the past few months. So, we’ve seen an increase in the number of mortgage deals available recently.

Many of the deals mortgage lenders are currently offering have already factored in the Bank of England’s recent interest rate rises, including the December rise to 3.5%, because this has been expected. So it’s unlikely that December’s rate rise will lead to an increase in the pricing of mortgages. In fact, we’ve even seen some lenders cut their rates in recent weeks.

That said, lenders have tightened their affordability criteria recently. This is to make sure people are still able to afford their mortgages, were their payments to increase. You can find out more about how lenders assess affordability for mortgages here.