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June 17, 2024
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Property

Record numbers put homes on the market as property crash fears fade


December and the period leading up to Christmas is typically the quietest time for the property market. 

Sellers looking to come to the market around the festive period or start of the new year are increasingly choosing Boxing Day to capitalise on interest from buyers thinking about their plans for the year ahead.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of trade body Propertymark, said “positivity is clearly resonating on the property market” even though Christmas is usually a quiet period for the sector. 

He said: “Sellers are clearly not deterred by the latest inflation figures or interest rates as optimistic signs start to emerge and are demonstrating confidence in the market.”

Matt Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons estate agents, said lenders’ cuts to fixed mortgage rates have been promising. 

HSBC has become the first major bank to offer a five-year fixed deal below 4pc in recent months, following Halifax’s decision to cut rates by as much as 0.92 percentage points on Tuesday.

Mr Thompson said: “Many sellers expect the news of falling mortgage rates to encourage more buyers to enter the market.

“The festive season also provides a window of opportunity that many house hunters utilise to sit down and really focus on their property search. 

“Savvy sellers quickly realised the potential of attracting more buyer interest during that time and therefore listed their homes on or shortly after Boxing Day.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said other lenders are expected to follow in the footsteps of those that have already reduced rates. 

He said: “There could be some attractive deals to entice buyers back to the market this year.

“While cheaper borrowing costs will help affordability when it comes to getting a mortgage, it may also embolden vendors to hold firm and not be so ready to reduce their asking prices.”

David Reed, operations director at Antony Roberts estate agents, said some buyers could wait even longer for bigger cuts to mortgage rates.

He said: “While the starting pistol may have sounded on Boxing Day, many buyers will traditionally wait a little longer, perhaps until after the children go back to school and beyond to then come forward with perhaps more considered plans for the year ahead.

 “Especially for first-time buyers, perceptions of mortgage rate movements ahead will have some influence on affordability and may ultimately dampen or, with some optimism, add impetus to that nascent search for a new property.”



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