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JONATHAN ROLANDE: A week is a lifetime in the property market

If a week is a long time in politics, then I’d say it’s a lifetime for anyone working in the property market.

That’s why the very welcome news this week about a recovery in house prices should be welcomed. But it shouldn’t be massively celebrated.

In case you missed them (it’s half term for many of us after all) new data is out showing the housing market is expected to stage a recovery in 2024.

This is based on the fact average UK house prices fell by only £4,000 last year, according to official figures.

According to the number-crunchers at the Office of National Statistics, the price of the average home decreased by 1.4% in the 12 months to December 2023, an improvement on an annual fall of 2.3% recorded in November.

The figures suggest that a slowdown in the housing sector in 2023 triggered by rising mortgage costs may be over, and a downward trend in house prices has bottomed out.

Now, I don’t wish to say I told you so, but regular readers of my weekly musings will know I definitely wasn’t among those lining myself up alongside the doom-merchants predicting a house price crash in 2024.

As I’ve previously explained, what we are seeing is effectively a two-pronged reaction to two events - one of which I pray we never see again in our lifetime. 

The pandemic drove house prices up to unsustainable levels. Prices were always going to come down. They had to. But they’ve only come down at the rate that they did last year because we then experienced a massive cost of living crisis not helped by one of the most poorly executed mini-Budgets in recent times. 

But Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng are long gone.

And there is good and growing evidence to suggest the market is stabilising and that prices will continue to stay incredibly robust through the rest of the year. In many regions, especially in the north and parts of the Midlands, I actually think prices will rise by the end of the year.

For Rishi Sunak, a stabilising house market will be a welcome boost.

But whether any announcements on housing will be enough to galvanise young voters and their parents to vote for his party remains to be seen. 

The raft of incentives to buy and build over coming months will make good headlines. 

But historic and environmental protections, infrastructure and the virtual monopoly of house building companies won’t be overcome quickly.

It’ll certainly take longer than a week. 

Whoever wins the race to Number 10 will need to develop policies which may take years, possibly even decades, to solve our housing crisis. 


  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    'The UK economy has officially entered recession, figures show. A recession is defined as two consecutive three-month periods where the economy contracts rather than grows. A major measure of economic growth, gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 0.3% between October and December, the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows'. Always a boom housing market in a recession the two going hand in hand.


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