Despite the weaker market conditions we’ve witnessed this year some 500,000 homes are expected to change hands in the first half of 2023, Zoopla has estimated.
Whilst levels of buyer demand are 43% lower than a year ago, the number of sales being agreed (sold ‘subject to contract’) are just 16% lower than last year.
While prices have fallen by 1% since last October the slower market is arguably more attractive for buyers, as there are 65% more homes available for sale than last year.
In such an environment investors have more choice, as well as scope to haggle on the price.
Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla, said: “The housing market is arguably more balanced than it has been for more than three years. Levels of supply have recovered and buyers and sellers are not miles apart on where they see pricing and this means deals are being agreed at an increasing rate.
“Prices are drifting lower compared to a year ago but fears of a major downturn in prices are overdone.
“Falling mortgage rates and a strong labour market are supporting activity levels from committed movers who need to be realistic on price if they are serious about moving home in 2023.
“We expect to see levels of activity continue to steadily improve over Easter and into the summer and H2.”
Zoopla said there’s particularly strong demand from first-time buyers or second-steppers, as year-on-year, there has been an increase of 5% in the share of sales in the bottom 40% of the market (by price) and conversely, a drop of 4% in the share of sales in the top 40% of the market.
As it stands UK house price growth stands at 4.1%.
Kevin Shaw, national sales managing director at Leaders Romans Group (LRG), said: “As spring has sprung, the daffodils are out and we’re entering the traditional season of house moves.
“Added to that, an increase of ‘sold’ signs is providing some encouragement, as is the fact that house price correction has now taken place, interest rates and mortgage rates are unlikely to go much higher and lenders are competing for borrowing so rates.
“We have an improving viewings-to-offer rate which is slightly lower than a traditionally good year but significantly higher than the depths of the market post-Brexit.
“Importantly, we’re seeing few undecided sellers and buyers: those that are in the market today are serious movers.
“Furthermore, the second-hand market will also receive a boost from the end today of End of Help to Buy, which will mean many first-time buyers opting for used properties in place of brand new homes.