How’s the UK Housing Market Faring in 2024?

How’s the UK Housing Market Faring in 2024?

The housing market has long been upheld by the UK government as a sign that the economy is doing well. Or, at least, it’s used as evidence when house prices are on the rise. That’s not to say that the housing market isn’t an indicator of economic health. In fact, it can be a key teller of such things. As has been explored, the housing market’s impact on national productivity plays into the overall economic picture.

What has been a bit telling in recent months is that the government has been quieter on the housing market. Economic pressures leading through the earliest months of 2024 are well documented. Plus, the government has struggled to rein in elements that hinder first-time buyers. Second-home owners and landlords are running rampant, for example. So, it’s worth checking in on the current state of play even when it’s out of the headlines.

Buying and selling seemingly getting more accessible

It was recently reported that mortgage approvals hit new heights in the UK. Approvals exceeded a bar not met since October 2022. The activity has been hailed as a sign of market recovery. British lenders gave out more mortgages in January 2024 than 15 months prior. The figures for how many were approved range from 52,000 to 55,227. These figures weigh heavily on those who set interest rates and monetary policymakers.

Also helping this is how the house-selling market has developed in recent times. Estate agents in offices aren’t necessarily the best way to go. Now, there are more convenient online estate agents that do away with fees and still offer a human touch. A prime example of this can be seen when selling a house in probate. The team makes it a priority to be sensitive to the difficult time that surrounds selling a house in this situation. There isn’t a rush on the seller’s behalf. Once the nod is given, though, the sale can be completed within seven days.

January uptick could offer momentum

With January proving to be somewhat of a recovery month for mortgage lending, the next months could be even better. As a rule, the spring and earlier summer months are the best times for selling. People want to move into their new homes before the summer holidays. They also are more active and outside in the warmer months. Of them all, March tends to be seen as the best time to list and sell. August becomes the first big lull.

So, if January picked up speed, then in theory, the momentum would have continued. This could lead to an especially good period during the main selling and buying window. Increased competition is always ideal for sellers. Mortgages haven’t come all of the way down yet. However, seven per cent for a 30-year fixed mortgage does mark a significant decline from the October 2023 peak of eight per cent. House prices are also still quite high. This can be good for sellers’ income. Still, it does reduce the pool of potential buyers.

The UK housing market is still in a precarious spot. Confidence in the market and accessibility will be key over the coming months.