Property Market Report – A Review of Q1 of 2024

Property Market Report – A Review of Q1 of 2024

Wooden blocks spelling our Review - in a Property Market Report

It’s hard to believe I know but we’re already a quarter of the way through 2024.  I know, it’s incredible, isn’t it?  My new role as a consultant has, if anything, made time pass even quicker than when I worked full time and as trite as it is to say, I’m not sure how I found time to work full time!  The end of the first quarter is however the perfect point to look at how the local property market is performing and how it compares to the same time last year.  Are things getting better or worse?  What’s hot and what’s not? So let’s dive in.

The Broader Picture

Tragically the conflict in Gaza and the Ukraine continue to dominate the news.  Aside from the overriding issue of appalling human suffering, there remains an economic impact which does of course exert influence on the property market. The good news economically is that inflation is falling fast.  The lowering of the energy price cap in the coming weeks will lower the rate still further and we foresee inflation being at or very close to the Government’s target of 2% by late autumn. This we are confident will see the Bank of England cut the base rate come May or June.  Mortgage rates will we predict quickly mirror this and borrowing become cheaper.

A Local Perspective

The housing market in Dunfermline has remained resilient in recent months and has been building momentum right from the start of the year.  Despite the continuing pressure on household budgets and higher borrowing costs than at the start of 2023, the local property market has continued to perform strongly and to exhibit signs of robust good health.  This continued buoyancy in the market can in part be explained by strong labour market conditions with the unemployment rate continuing to be low and by wage growth which is now running above the rate of inflation.

Facts and Figures

So what exactly has been happening in the first three months of 2024?  What do the figures look like compared to the same time last year and what if anything do they tell us?

Our “Vital Statistics” featured elsewhere in this newsletter show an average time on the market of 2.7 weeks for sales in March.  Across the whole of Q1 however our average selling time was 3.5 weeks compared to 2.8 weeks in Q1 2023.  From January through to end March our average sale price achieved was £186,207.  In comparison in Q1 2023 it was £192,959.  In addition, when expressed as a percentage of home report our average Q1 sale was 101.95%.  Last year’s Q1 average was 103.15%.

In other words, the market is going backwards, right?  Well thankfully no and here’s why.  First of all there is always some lag time between what is happening in the real world and when that reality shows up in the stats.  The fact is that 2024 has begun on a very positive note.  In terms of sales we’ve sold 31% more homes than at this stage last year and homes coming to market have increased in number too.  The principal reasons are that people accept the worst is behind us in economic terms and anticipate mortgage rates falling.

What’s Hot and What’s Not

In terms of what’s been hot and what’s been not (!) it’s been the two bed flats and three beds, both semis and detached, that have been performing best but four beds too up to around the £250K mark have been doing well too.  Working from home whilst perhaps not as universal as was anticipated at the height of lockdown, hybrid working is the norm for many, especially those in management positions. These buyers have been adapting to the WFH trend even if it is only for some of the time and their consequent need for designated space to do so has meant quality homes with good Wi-Fi connectivity and transport links such as those found in Duloch, Dalgety Bay and Dunfermline’s newer estates have proven very popular.

If there has been a slower sector it’s been at the upper end of the market where homes above £300K in particular have been a little slower.  The reason?  Well, the discretionary “nice-to-move” moves as opposed to the essential “need-to-move” moves have been more affected by the higher cost of borrowing and being non-essential have been less numerous.  We do, however, expect the improving economic picture to breathe more life into this sector of the market and are hopeful of a rally at the upper end in Q2 and Q3.

And What of the Future?

What therefore can we take from a very encouraging first quarter in the local property market?  Where is the market headed?

First off and most importantly we’re pretty confident that the market will continue to improve slowly and steadily.  Inflation will return to the target of 2% and, we predict, do so before the end of the year.  Mortgage rates will be cut and sub-4% fixed rate deals are not too far off.   As looks likely we will very possibly have a change of Government and as always happens when an incumbent administration of many years makes way for the new, optimism, be it well founded or misplaced, tends to flourish which in turn benefits the property market.

Remember, we offer a FREE, no obligation pre-sale valuation or even at this stage you’re just looking for a rough, ball park estimate why not use our instant online valuation tool you’ll find here.

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