The latest OnTheMarket (OTM) Property Sentiment Index (reporting on December 2022 data) has been released. It reminds agents that those who need to move carry on regardless, despite the recent slowdown in the housing market and wider economy.
But it suggests that those who are not in a hurry may delay their move until spring. But data from OTM shows that confidence, challenged so significantly after the drama created by the ill-fated mini-Budget, remarkably stabilised in December.
There were concerns that transactions would grind to a halt in a high inflationary environment, yet while December is traditionally a quieter month, the data indicates that 60% of properties were SSTC within 30 days, demonstrating that motivated vendors who priced their homes accurately were still able to transact. This figure is a considerable improvement from 42% in November when the market was rocked by the mini-Budget fallout. This is also up 53% from the previous December, a time when the market was significantly more buoyant.
With 73% of buyers confident they would purchase a property within the next three months, a slight decrease from 74% in November, and 64% of sellers confident they’d sell within the next three months, up from 63% the previous month, there is still plenty of positivity even as the inevitable rebalancing of the market continues.
House price indices suggest that property values are nudging downwards but while there is plenty of speculation as to how far these may fall, agents are more concerned about transaction numbers.
OTM CEO Jason Tebb said: “There are still deals to be done and evidence suggests that serious buyers and sellers continue to engage with each other despite macro-economic headwinds. Making sure properties are priced well by taking advice from an experienced local agent who knows the local area inside and out is going to be more important than ever as the market becomes more challenging against the backdrop of a higher cost of living and rising interest rates.
“As fixed-rate mortgage pricing continues to edge downwards with several lenders reducing rates, this may help restore positivity in the market. Previous expectations of base rate peaking at 6 per cent or even higher are now looking wide of the mark and with the Prime Minister vowing to bring inflation under control, buyers may be more confident that the recent mortgage rate volatility is behind us.
“It can be tempting to read too much into one set of data but if you thought nothing ever happens in December, this wasn’t the case in 2022. It demonstrates yet again that there will always be those who need to move, but properties need to be priced effectively if there is to be a realistic market for those who are serious about buying and selling in 2023.”