Residential property review April 2024

Upcoming election has not discouraged potential movers.

 A survey by Savills has found that the prospect of the UK General Election has not put off the majority of home movers.

According to the report, 79% of respondents have not changed their intentions to move because of the UK election; in fact, 13% said they were even more intent on moving. A small percentage (8%) were less sure about moving because of political uncertainty. Interestingly, the respondents most committed to their plans were those who plan to downsize or relocate. Meanwhile, investors and those looking to secure a second home are more likely to hold off purchasing until there is a possible change in government.

Head of Residential Research at Savills, Lucian Cook, commented, “Despite a General Election nearing, the short odds on a change in government mean that political change is already largely priced into the market, and for the most part, buyers will remain undeterred about pressing ahead with moving decisions.”

 A glimmer of hope for residential development?

There are signs that residential development activity is getting back on track, albeit cautiously.

A survey from the Home Builders Federation suggests that demand for new builds is increasing. In January of this year, the net reservation balance was positive for the first time since February 2022. According to the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS), build cost inflation is also expected to stabilise in 2024, falling from 15.5% to 3.1% in 2022-23. Additionally, the cost of labour and materials is predicted to reduce due to poor construction activity in the past year.

While these signs of improvement are encouraging, housing development activity has still seen better days. Research from Knight Frank highlights that in 2023, housing starts in London were down 64% compared to their peak point in 2015.

A boost in homeowners putting their property on the market

Spring got off to a promising start, as the Thursday before the Easter weekend was the busiest day of the year for new property listings.

According to Rightmove, on 28 March, 45% more new homes were listed than the previous Thursday. Since August 2020, only two days have seen a higher number of listings recorded—Boxing Day 2022 and 2023.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, advised that “while the uptick in activity we’ve seen over the past few months is a positive sign, sellers still need to heed the advice from their agent on pricing competitively to help secure a successful sale.”

All details are correct at the time of writing (17 April 2024)

It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances. Information within this document is based on our current understanding and can be subject to change without notice and the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. It does not provide individual tailored investment advice and is for guidance only. Some rules may vary in different parts of the UK. We cannot assume legal liability for any errors or omissions it might contain. Levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are those currently applying or proposed and are subject to change; their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner without prior permission.

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Chat to the Author, Anne Elliss

Executive Partner, Residential Property, Brentwood office

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Anne Elliss, partner and conveyancing specialist in Brentwood | Tees Law

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