ONS House Price Index, February 2024 - Jackson-Stops comment

In response to the ONS House Price Index published today which showed that in December 2023 house prices decreased by 1.4% on annual basis, with the average price in December being £285,000, Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, said:

“The combination of falling inflation and a resilient jobs market is an encouraging sign after what many viewed as a subdued year of activity. The figures published today cover the end of 2023, and while a further dip in house prices is unwelcome, it is unsurprising for the time of year when we look at the wider trend over the final quarter.

“Across the Jackson-Stops network, Q4 saw an average of eight buyers for each available property, which demonstrates the supply challenges that are still underpinning market forces for those committed to moving. While the extremes of the pandemic property period have been firmly left behind, the reality of a more balanced picture has positioned the market well for a steadier start to 2024. In January across our network, we have started to see a modest buzz from buyers reigniting their searches, buoyed by greater clarity on mortgage rates and easing affordability.

“On a regional and local market level, the picture varies with differing stock levels and demand dictating buyers and seller activity. Though, for sellers looking to clinch a sale there are certain must-haves that will always remain in high demand creating hot pockets throughout the country, including proximity to outstanding schools, reliable transport links, and easy access to local amenities. For this reason, the home counties, namely Surrey and Kent, remain popular locations for buyers, but are also places where people are reluctant to leave once they’ve found their perfect property making demand even greater.

“The market will eagerly wait to see how the year plays out, while a good start to the new year is positive, it is too soon to determine whether if the year will strike the same note throughout. The reality of a changeable economic picture, a possible change of Government, and subsequent changes in housing policy, makes the role of estate agents even more important to help buyers and sellers navigate a continually shifting landscape.”