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Competitive mortgage market ‘may dampen downsizing boom’

A more competitive mortgage market may actually dampen hopes of a downsizing boom, an agent has predicted.

Many property professionals last year forecast that higher mortgage rates and energy bills would force many homeowners to downsize this year to reduce their costs.

But London agent Chestertons suggests that this may no longer be the case.


Its latest review of London’s property market claims that spring may not see the typical seasonal increase in properties being put up for sale that many buyers had hoped for. 

Whilst buyers remained undeterred in February with a 3% uplift in viewings compared to the same month last year, the agent said there were 17% fewer sellers entering the market. 

This, in turn, is leading to a limited number of properties coming onto the market in March and April leaving many house hunters frustrated.

Chestertons advises that one reason behind the decrease in homeowners wanting to sell up has been the re-introduction of more competitive mortgage products.

Matthew Thompson, head of sales at Chestertons, said: “The London property market slowed down at the end of last year in reaction to the Bank of England increasing interest rates. 

“These rates have started to come down since the beginning of 2023 and we are seeing stronger competition amongst mortgage lenders which means that rates are now only slightly higher than before the September 2022 mini-budget.
“This has relieved some pressure on households with fixed-rate mortgages coming up for renewal. As a result, some homeowners who had considered downsizing to lower costs may have been able to get another fixed-rate mortgage at an affordable rate - meaning they are under less pressure to sell.”

The agent is predicting that prices across England and Wales will drop by around 1% compared to a drop of 3.2% in London this year.

The capital will then lead the recovery in 2024, with prices rebounding by 9%, compared with a smaller increase nationally, Chestertons suggests.


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