Property price & market report - April 2024

publication date: May 14, 2024
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author/source: Kate Faulkner OBE, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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Property price & market report - April 2024
Positive signals of a better market from the indices 

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.

 

Summary of the latest property market headlines

All of the indices over the last month are giving positive signals that the market is doing better. Statements of ‘stronger buyer demand’ and prices ‘edging up’ are good news – but it still remains a tough market versus the ‘norm’. This is typically one of the better performing times of the year, so we’d expect to see more positive headlines.


National property price tracking



Property price and market indices headlines:

Rightmove 
Stronger buyer demand and sales as market marches into Spring

“The average price of newly marketed properties rises by 1.5% this month."

Home.co.uk  
Prices up in all regions as the market picks up pace

“Asking prices continue their upward trajectory, adding 0.4% since last month across England and Wales, and are now up year-on-year by 0.1% vs. March 2023.”

RICS  
Outlook for sales volumes continues to improve with enquiries and listings up modestly over the month

“House price indicator moves into neutral territory while twelve-month expectations point to an upward trend emerging.”

Nationwide 
Annual house price growth edges up in March

“UK house prices up 1.6% compared with a year ago.”

Halifax
Annual growth slows, but house prices remain up on last year

“Property prices grew by +0.3% annually (vs +1.6% last month).”

e.surv  
Confidence slowly returning to the market……

“....but annual change still negative at -3.1%.”

Zoopla 
Sellers return to the market as sales volumes grow

“Annual house price inflation slows to -0.3%, up from -1.4% in Oct 23 .”


And although the headlines are positive and month on month movements aren’t the best measure of the market, it’s interesting to note that both Halifax and e.surv are both showing slight dips in March of ‘average prices’ versus January and February this year.

The key highlights from the indices do talk about prices, but the biggest news is that the sales agreed are higher versus previous years which should help boost things for all of the moving sectors this year:

Rightmove

  • The positive start to the year continues, paving the way for a greater number of home purchases than last year:
    • With average asking prices still £4,776 below the May 2023 peak, more are seeing a window of opportunity to buy.
    • The number of sales being agreed is now 13% higher than at this time last year.
    • Buyer demand is now 8% above last year, led by the less mortgage-rate-sensitive larger homes sector and London.
  • However, despite a better-than-expected start to the year, the market remains sensitive to pricing and external events:
    • The average time to find a buyer is 71 days, the longest at this time of year since 2019. Attractively priced properties are quickly being cherry-picked, but over-optimistically priced sellers are taking longer to find a buyer.
    • The average 5-year mortgage rate is now 4.84% compared to 4.64% five weeks ago, as rates edge up to higher levels.

Nationwide        

  • Annual rate of change returned to positive territory for first time since January 2023 - prices up 1.2% year on year.
  • All regions saw an improvement in the annual rate of change in first quarter of 2024.

Home.co.uk

  • The total sales stock count for England and Wales continues to rise in line with seasonal expectations. The current total of unsold property is 451,185, around 11,000 more than last month and approximately the same total as registered in March 2019.
  • The number of new instructions entering the market during February 2024 was 13% more than during February 2023.
  • The Typical Time on Market for unsold property in England and Wales has dropped eight days since February as market momentum increases. The current median is 104 days; in pre-COVID March 2019, the same measure was 111 days.

e.surv   

  • The average sale price of completed home transactions using cash and/or mortgages rose by a minor £200 - or 0.1% - to £361,368, and is now at a level first seen in February 2022.
  • It is also evident that the average price has hovered around the £361,000 mark for the last four months.
  • 74 authorities see rising prices in February.
  • Three northern regions top growth league table.

Zoopla

  • Market activity improves across all key measures led by sales, which are 9% higher than a year ago.
  • More sellers coming to market and stock of homes for sale up 20%.
  • House price inflation higher than Q3 2023 across all areas but still negative in southern England.
  • The percentage of the asking price achieved has narrowed from 95.5% in November 2023 to 96.1% in March 2024.

 

Country and regional market performance for March/April

The country performance from Land Registry is looking more positive versus last month with Scotland remaining in the positive territory and Northern Ireland slightly up, while England and Wales remain slightly down. It’s important to bear in mind though that this data is accurate – but out of date – and measures the market around 3-6 months ago.

 

Download the April 2024 property price and market report here

  

Property prices by country

 

 

For Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland we monitor:

 

  • Halifax
  • Nationwide
  • e.surv

 

Please find a summary of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland markets below:

Summary from the indices of the Scottish housing market

e.surv

Scotland’s house prices show varying regional fortunes …
“The average house price in Scotland in January 2024 has increased by £520, or 0.2%, over the last twelve months, which is 0.5% higher than the revised rate of -0.3% in December 2023, one month earlier.

“In January 2024, 16 of the 32 local authorities in Scotland were reporting a positive movement in prices over the previous twelve months, the same number as in December 2023.

“Midlothian had the highest annual rate of price growth in January of all local authority areas on the mainland, at 9.9%, having been in second position in December. In Midlothian, all property types have seen an increase in values over the last twelve months. Staying on the mainland, Stirling has the second-highest annual growth rate at 7.4%.

“At the other end of the scale, the area on the mainland with the largest percentage fall in prices over the last twelve months was West Dunbartonshire, at -8.5%. In West Dunbartonshire, all property types saw prices fall over the year.”


Nationwide 
“Scotland saw annual price growth pick up to 3.7%.”

Halifax
“Scottish house prices rose +2.1% year-on-year to stand at £204,835 ”


Summary from the indices of the Welsh housing market

Nationwide 
“Compared with Q1 2023, Wales saw a 1.2% year-on-year rise.”

Halifax
“In Wales annual property price growth slowed to +1.9% in March, from +3.9% in February, with the average home now costing £219,213.”

 

Summary from the indices of the Northern Ireland housing market

Nationwide 
“Northern Ireland remained the best performing area, with prices up 4.6% compared with Q1 2023.”

Halifax
“Northern Ireland remains strongest performing nation or region in the UK – with house prices up by +4.3% on an annual basis. Properties in Northern Ireland now cost an average of £194,743, which is £7,972 more than a year ago.” 

 

Regional property prices tracking

 

Regionally, the markets remain very different performance wise with price growth the highest for Nationwide in the North East at a growth of 4.1%, while the biggest fall is from the Land Registry of 3.9% in London, although other indices that measure the market a little more recently show London to be on a par, or slightly up versus last year.

The table below shows how many regions are up or down by index and this is slightly better than last month, especially from Nationwide.  



Commentary on the regional performance by indices is below:

Zoopla 
House prices firming rather than set for faster growth
“There is a clear divide across the UK as southern regions continue to register annual price falls, led by the Eastern (-2.3%) and South East (-2%) regions. Prices are rising the most in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“All areas are recording higher annual price inflation than six months ago as sales volumes recover and pricing levels firm. We expect the current trends in pricing to continue into H2 2024 as prices continue to adjust to higher mortgage rates and reduced buying power."

Nationwide
Across northern England (which comprises North, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands), prices were up 1.7% year on year.

“Meanwhile southern England (South West, Outer South East, Outer Metropolitan, London and East Anglia) saw a 0.3% year-on-year fall. London remained the best performing southern region with annual price growth recovering to 1.6%. The South West was the weakest performing region, with prices down 1.7% year-on-year.”

Halifax
“Something of north/south divide exists in England, where the North West saw the strongest growth, up by +3.7% on an annual basis to £232,315.

“Properties in Eastern England recorded the biggest decline of -0.9%, with homes selling for an average of £330,627, a drop of £2,878 over the last year.

“London continues to have the highest average house price in the UK, at £539,917. Prices in the capital have increased by +0.4% over the last year.”

 

Download the April 2024 property price and market report here

 

City tracker - what's happening in the last month according to the indices?

Although this is Land Registry data which measures the market 3-6 months ago, it still gives an accurate measure of what has happened 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 six cities/towns. These include: 

  • Manchester
  • Bristol
  • London
  • Cambridge
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Milton Keynes

 

The rest of the towns and cities we track actually show that property prices, in many areas, have risen at less than inflation. In property, when you measure the market from and to, it can result in some very misleading information.

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

  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Belfast
  • Aberdeen
  • Southampton
  • Lincoln
  • Liverpool

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

 

Lowest performers are:

 

Although there isn’t an obvious ‘north/south’ divide, the likes of the south coast – with Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth are still recording year on year falls, along with the likes of Reading and Tunbridge Wells. It appears that the South is suffering while London is doing slightly better, which is probably due to international monies and the fact that demand tends to always outstrip supply. 

 

e.surv
“In February 2024, 18 of the 111 Unitary Authority areas in England and Wales were recording price gains over the previous twelve months, which is 9 more authorities with price rises over the year than in January 2024, providing further evidence of the increase in demand for housing that has been prevalent during February 2024.

“The area with the highest annual increase in prices in February 2024 is Rutland, up by 20%, but since Rutland has the smallest number of houses sold in England and Wales in any month, it tends to have volatile movements in average price. In second place is Flintshire, in Wales, with annual growth of 9.6%. In Flintshire, all property types have seen an increase in prices over the last twelve months.

“By way of contrast, the area with the largest fall in prices over the last twelve months was The Vale of Glamorgan, also in Wales, where prices have fallen by -17.5% over the year. The prime reason for this fall is that a detached property had sold for £2.6 million in February 2023, but with no similar value home having been purchased in 2024, average prices fell in The Vale by £60k across the two years – a classic example of how the lack of high value sales in Wales in 2024 compared to 2023 is resulting in the decline in average property prices in Wales, despite the one-off sale in Flintshire described above.”

 

Appendix: City/town property indices price tracking
For city/town tracking, we use Land Registry (government data) and Zoopla/Hometrack. The Land Registry data is useful because we can analyse how property prices have changed over time and this helps us to put today’s price information into context.

The Zoopla/Hometrack data is useful as they take into account the change in mix of property transactions during the pandemic to houses away from flats. This has meant the likes of the Land Registry and other indices have over exaggerated price changes year on year.

 

What’s happening to supply and demand?

Supply and demand remain far more important to than what’s happening to prices yet are rarely featured in the press. Overall, this last month we’ve seen good news with sales agreed being much higher than this time last year – 13% according to Rightmove and 7% according to Zoopla.

Demand wise, things have picked up too with demand being 8% higher according to Rightmove and 11% more properties for sale according to Zoopla.

Naturally, areas where property is more affordable are rebounding price wise more quickly than the likes of London and the South.

But we all know that individual demand and supply is especially key in a market like this, so it’s essential that agents report the different individual sales and rentals at a local basis – what sells well, what is sticking and why and the same from a rental perspective.

Rightmove
“Since the beginning of March, the number of sales being agreed is 13% higher than at the same time last year, continuing to pave the way for a higher number of transactions this year than the one million in 2023. Leading these higher sales agreed numbers is the less mortgage-rate-sensitive, top-of-the-ladder sector, where agreed sales are now 18% higher than last year. It is also this largest homes sector which is driving more people to get in touch with estate agents than at this time last year. In March so far, buyer demand for top-of-the-ladder properties is 12% higher than the same period last year, compared with 8% higher overall for all property types.

“London has seen the biggest increase in buyer demand, both overall and for top-of-the-ladder properties, compared to this time last year. The return to the office, wage increases, stable house prices and the slowing of inflation have all played their part in increasing buyer interest in living in the capital again.”

Zoopla 
Sales market activity continues to improve
“All the primary measures of sales market activity continue to show positive, upward momentum. New sales agreed are 9% higher than a year ago, with 7% more home sales agreed over Q1 20241 than over Q1 2023. This trend is encouraging more sellers to bring their homes to market. The average agent had 11% more homes on the market in the last 4 weeks than they did this time last year. Overall, there are a fifth more homes for sale than last year.

“Improving housing market sentiment is down to faster real wage growth and a healthy jobs market, both of which are boosting consumer confidence. The latest Gfk survey finds that consumers’ confidence about their personal finances has hit the highest level in more than two years. At the same time, mortgage rates have fallen to 4.4% for a 75% loan to value 5-year fixed-rate loan, down by over 1 percentage point from a high of 5.8% in June 2023.

“Activity is up across the board with the strongest growth in sales in areas with more affordable house prices, such as Yorkshire and the Humber (11%) and the North West (13%). The strongest growth in new sellers listing homes is in the South West (28%) and North East (26%). The supply of homes for sale in London is only 8% higher, explaining why price inflation is rebounding faster here than other regions.”

 

Latest transaction data from Chris Watkin and TwentyEA

The beauty of this data is that it is much more up to date than other indices, so more reflective of the current market.

To date: Listings are doing incredibly well versus the long term average going back to 2017 of 431,500, being the highest we’ve seen in seven years:

Although we have the highest listings, due to the subdued market, the number of net sales is still slightly below the seven year average of 259,000, but it’s still ahead of every year bar 2021 and 2022 and certainly up on last year’s by just over 11%.