Indices' predictions of the property market crashing in 2023 were wrong!

publication date: Mar 5, 2024
author/source: Kate Faulkner OBE, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Indices' predictions of the property market crashing in 2023 were wrong!
February 2024 property price and market report


Jump to:

Summary of property price and market indices

National property prices

Property prices by country

Regional property prices

City/town property price tracking

Demand, supply and transactions

Where is the market going?


The UK’s most comprehensive property price report

This report is to help give everyone – industry and consumers – a quick five-minute guide to what’s happening in the property market, according to the property indices, along with property expert Kate Faulkner’s comments.

Property price and market indices headlines:

Tentatively promising new year start as buyer and seller activity jump
“Average new seller asking prices rise by 1.3% month-on-month to £359,748, the biggest December to January increase in prices since 2020, though average prices are still 0.7% lower than at this time last year.”  
Prices hold firm on rate cut optimism and falling stock
“Asking prices remain unchanged since last month across England and Wales but are down year-on-year by just 0.5% vs. Jan 2023.”

Outlook for sales market activity continues to improve gradually
“House price declines continue to moderate at the national level, with respondents now anticipating a flat trend over the year ahead.”

House prices begin 2024 on a more upbeat note

“UK house prices rose by 0.7% in January, after taking account of seasonal effects. This resulted in an improvement in the annual rate of house price growth from -1.8% in December to -0.2% in January, the strongest outturn since January 2023.”

Positive start to 2024 for UK house prices

“Average house prices rose by +1.3% in January, the fourth monthly rise in a row.”

Annual prices still falling in January
“House prices in England and Wales saw a slight increase this month, rising by £620 (0.2%) to reach a level last seen in February 2022. This marks only the second time in the past 15 months that prices have grown by more than 0.1%.” 

UK house price inflation moderates to -0.8% on rising sales volumes

“Our UK house price index recorded annual price falls of -0.8% in December 2023, up from a -1.4% low in October 2023.”


What are the indices saying is happening to house prices today versus the past?

National property price tracking

This month’s indices are super useful to everyone in the property market. The reason being is they clearly show that all the predictions of the property market crashing in 2023 were, basically, very wrong!

In a recent interview with BBC Radio Nottingham, I gave examples of properties that had gone up, down and stayed the same, going right back to the last recession in 2007/8. The individual sold property price data we have access to is really useful to show buyers and sellers that the main people they should talk to to find out what’s happening property wise is: their local agent.

In the meantime, the best information and analysis from this month’s property indices is that demand, instructions and indeed sales agreed appear to be better than they were versus last year, which is a great start to 2024.

And, hopefully this should continue with lenders competing mortgage rates down to sub 5%, although Zoopla’s conclusion is that it’s “Important not to over-interpret the positive start to the year – there is some upside for sales volumes, but we remain in a buyers’ market.”


Download the FULL analysis and property price and market report here


How different are the country and regional property stats this month?

This month’s country stats from Land Registry show that over time, the property inflation stats show that Wales and Northern Ireland have grown less than the long-term inflation since 2005, while Scotland and England are just in line. So, in spite of the huge rises and falls since 2005, in the main, property prices by country are either rising over time with general inflation – or just below.

Their stats on a year on year basis show that Scotland and Northern Ireland, up to November time, were up year on year while England and Wales were slightly down, but nothing like the huge forecasted falls.

Nationwide’s quarterly mortgaged only sales actually show that Scotland is just up year on year, while Northern Ireland is 4.5% up versus Q4 in 22 – which considering the rises in mortgage rates throughout 2023, is quite an incredible result. Meanwhile, they agree with the Land Registry that prices in England and Wales are slightly down year on year.  


Property prices by country


On a regional basis, we have data from the Land Registry, and Halifax monthly while Nationwide monitor this on a quarterly basis.

What’s good about the data is that, bar London and the South, even though the average national prices vary a lot from one indices to another, regional data varies a lot less.

For example, nationally, Rightmove typically has the highest monthly average price: £359,748 while the lowest is Nationwide at £257,656, which is a staggering 39%+ difference!

And if you look at London prices in particular, they also range dramatically between the indices with Rightmove showing the highest average of £664,550 versus the lowest – which is the Land Registry at £505,283, a 31% difference. There is also a big difference in the ‘performance’ of London according to the different indices, with the Halifax and Rightmove showing falls of less than half a percent, while the Land Registry shows the highest fall of 6%, a significant difference.

The South East, East and South West showing the highest falls, are likely to be worst affected due to reliance and need for larger mortgages. Regions that are showing a positive market according to Halifax and are: North East and West and Yorkshire and Humber, whilst Rightmove also records positive price movement for the North West and Yorkshire/Humber region.

However, it’s important to note two things. Firstly, the falls are pretty minute, mostly just a few percent. And secondly, that compared to 2019, which is the best ‘base year’ we have for the market pre the pandemic, that most home owners have seen good price growth during the time they own a property.


Regional property prices tracking 


What’s more useful though is this chart from which shows a good picture for any sellers looking to move having bought five years – or more – ago. Even with the rise in mortgage costs over the last 18 months, most regional buyers will have seen good price growth, hopefully enough to re-mortgage at a reasonable rate with a better Loan to Value and/or in a position where they have gained enough equity to trade up – or indeed release some equity and trade down.



For Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland we monitor:

  • Principality Building Society
  • Halifax
  • Zoopla
  • e.surv


Please find a summary of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland markets in the full analysis.


Download the FULL analysis and property price and market report here


Commentary on the regional performance by indices is below:
“The ‘new normal’ post-COVID continues to favour the northern English regions, Wales and Scotland in terms of price growth. This month’s data shows that the former growth leader, the North East, has been pipped to the top spot by the North West. It is remarkable that these regions, despite all the challenges since late 2022, have managed to retain a state of overall growth. This is clear testament to the considerable demand driven vigour in these markets.

“Meanwhile, it is the East Midlands, South West, East and London that have borne the brunt of the price corrections. The East of England is the current laggard with a fall of 2.0% since January 2023. Should these regions recover their losses and return to growth, the national average figures would almost certainly return to real growth.”

“North West (+3.2%), Yorkshire and Humber (+2.8%), North East (+2.0%) and East Midlands (0.5%) also recorded house price increases over the last year.

“The South East fell the most last month when compared to other UK regions, with homes selling for an average £379,220 (-2.3%), a drop of £8,866.

“London retains the top spot for the highest average house price across all the regions, at £529,528, albeit prices in the capital have declined by -0.4% on an annual basis.”

“The largest upward change in rates took place in the North East, up by +0.4% on the previous month, making it the only region to have a positive annual rate of growth, at +0.2%. The largest downward movement in rates occurred in the South East, where prices fell by an additional -0.8%, resulting in a decline of -5.7% on an annual basis.

“The three regions with an overall positive change in growth rates were the North East, Greater London and the South West. The seven areas where prices deteriorated further were, in ranked order (smallest to largest), the East Midlands, Wales, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, the West Midlands, the East of England and the South East.”

“On a regional basis, we register the largest price falls in the East of England (-2.5%) and the South West (-2.2%).”



City/town property indices price tracking

What’s amazing when you look at property price data is the huge differences between regions, but that within those regions, the towns and cities also perform at different rates.

Over time, out of the 30 cities we track, since 2005, property prices have only risen above the average annual 3.8% inflation rate in only seven cities/towns. These include:-

  • Manchester
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Oxford
  • Brighton and Hove
  • London
  • Edinburgh


Milton Keynes property prices are on a par with the average annual rate of inflation.

All the remaining towns and cities have seen their average property prices grow at less than inflation – which is not something anyone would realise if they took their understanding of property prices trends from the media.

The following towns and cities price growth ‘on average’ are performing well below inflation:-

  • Newcastle
  • Belfast
  • Aberdeen
  • Southampton
  • Nottingham


Topping the price growth charts according to Land Registry and Hometrack:-

From a year on year basis, Edinburgh, Manchester and Oxford appear to be performing well historically and also year on year. Meanwhile, Brighton and Hove appears to have lost some of it’s historic steam, along with Cambridge and London.

Lowest performers are:

“In December 2023, only 11 of the 111 Unitary Authority areas in England and Wales were recording house price gains over the previous twelve months, which is 8 fewer authorities with price rises over the year than in November 2023.

“The area with the highest annual increase in prices in December 2023 is Gwynedd in Wales, up by 6.4%. In Gwynedd, prices for both detached and semi-detached homes have increased over the last twelve months, with the most significant increase on a weight-adjusted basis being detached properties, up from an average £345k in December 2022 to £370k one year later.

“By way of contrast, the area with the largest fall in prices over the last twelve months was – perhaps ironically given its proximity to Gwynedd - Denbighshire. In Denbighshire, prices have fallen by 16.1% over the year, with the largest fall in average values being detached properties, down from an average £310k in December 2022 to £245k in December 2023. However, it is perhaps likely that this had more to do with the attributes of the individual houses sold in the period, as opposed to a collapse in the housing market.”


Download the FULL analysis and property price and market report here


Demand and supply

Although much of the ‘noise’ about the property market is about property prices in the media, from an industry perspective, the most important data is what’s happening to transactions.

Unlike property prices, transactions tend to be easier to understand and predict, which for anyone trying to forecast for their property business, is useful.

On average, since 2000, the market has moved 1.2 million households a year since 2000. In 2020, even with the lockdowns we moved 1mn households, then 1.6 million in 2021 and 1.3 million in 2022.

So it shouldn’t have been a huge surprise that in 2023 while mortgage rates were rising, there were only just over 1 million transactions – especially as Zoopla predicted it at the start.

For 2024, the forecasts for transactions are similar to last year, picking up during 2025 and rising back to the annual ‘norm’ of 1.2mn by 2026: 


Source: Savills; JLL; Zoopla


Demand wise, Zoopla’s data shows that demand for this year is starting quite strong, especially compared to pre-pandemic data during 2019:


And, although demand isn’t bouncing back as well as supply, the more buyers and sellers there are around, the more likely the market will get back to normal transaction levels:


And hopefully we’ll see some increases in the time it takes to sell a property to help boost cashflow:

Overall, so far, from a demand and supply perspective, it’s starting to look like this year may be a slightly better year than last year as although prices may not rise by much and some may even fall a bit, what the industry needs is more people moving.

For the FULL demand and supply analysis - download the property price and market report here


What are the current hottest and coldest postcodes?

The Advisory track current market conditions so buyers and sellers can gain an independent view of how easy it would be to buy and sell their home in their area.

It’s important to know that although many areas aren’t having a great time sales wise just now, at postcode level the picture can either be worse or much better as the data below highlights. It also shows that serious buyers and sellers need to understand their local markets, from the agents to know whether it’s a good time to buy or sell.

This makes it easier for good agents that are honest about market conditions to value and manage expectations. For example, in BS6 and 5 (Bristol), 70% and 68% of the properties on the market are under offer, in contrast, B4 (Birmingham) and W1 (London) being the worst performers according to this index, with only 4% and 9% of properties on the market under offer, showing that ‘average property prices’ can mislead buyers and sellers.

From PropCast’s perspective, the hot markets at postcode level don’t necessarily track the overall increases and decreases seen even at town and city levels, with Bristol, Manchester and Sheffield having some of the busiest markets, and Birmingham, London and Liverpool having some of the slower ones.

To find out what’s happening in your postcode visit the House Selling Weather Forecast here.


Source: TheAdvisory

Where is the market going?

To read 'Where is the market going' - download the FULL version of Kate Faulkner's report here



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