Industry boss says home sales market due to ‘return to normal’ this year

Landmark Chief Executive Simon Brown says a high level of listings and cheaper finance means the market could be ready for positive movement.

simon landmark home sales

Listings in England and Wales remained strong throughout the last quarter of 2023 but subdued market conditions continued to impact transaction pipelines and limited the number of completions, data from Landmark Information Group’s latest Property Trends Report reveals.

Its cross-market data set reveals the willingness of home-movers to progress moves in Q4 2023 and readiness for a market upturn, with listings on a par with the fourth quarter of 2019.

BENCHMARK LEVEL

Bugt Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) and Completions were down 28% and 38% respectively versus the 2019 benchmark level.

Simon Brown (main picture), Chief Executive of Landmark Information Group, says that the high level of listings, combined with robust December valuation levels (13% higher than Dec 2022) and the resurgence of competitive mortgage deals, paints an encouraging picture for the start of 2024.

He even suggests that the market is poised to return to normal conditions as affordability constraints gradually begin to ease throughout the year.

Brown says: “Over the past 12 months, supply has remained mercifully strong, with 2023 just 0.5% down on volumes seen in 2019 – a year that is universally acknowledged as the last ‘normal’ trading year and a useful benchmark for this report.”

CONSISTENTLY RESTRICTED

“By contrast, the leading transactional indicators that follow, including SSTC / SSTM, searches ordered and completions, have been consistently restricted by at least 30% in England and 10% in Scotland compared to 2019.

“Once the market returns, could this mean that we’ll see a steady flow of previously suppressed transactions progress through the pipeline?

“After a challenging year, the market is ready for more movement.”

He adds: “With lenders starting to compete to offer movers the best deals, we could see transactions progressing and market conditions returning to more normal levels as the pipeline filters through into the second half of 2024.”

Graph showing property transaction pipeline throughout 2023. home sales
Source: Landmark Information Group

One Comment

  1. If completing on 20% less sales is normal for 2024 – then Simon Brown is right, personally I think the best that can be hoped is flat-lining. Because with house asking prices at their highest level ever, the base rate moving from 0.1% to 5.25% in 36 months, and no decline as yet in that Bank of England rate, he will find with hugely expensive mortgage costs and high prices the 42% of FTB’s who usually jump into the market, especially as Help-to-buy has gone, will be very selective about what they buy and when.

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