Should buyers wait for mortgage rates to go down in 2024?

January 2024 sees a notable upswing in buyer activity, marked by a 12% year-on-year increase in mortgage owner numbers. The housing market experiences a 20% surge in available homes for sale, providing prospective buyers with more choices. Despite the increase in options, the window for driving hard bargains is narrowing, necessitating a competitive edge in buyers’ offers.

While the decline in mortgage rates has been a contributing factor to the increased market activity, there’s a nuanced perspective on whether buyers should await further rate reductions. Richard Donnell, Zoopla’s Executive Director of Research, acknowledges the positive impact of lower mortgage rates but cautions against expecting significant additional declines in the near term. Projections suggest that rates are likely to hover within the 4-5% range, especially for those with substantial deposits.

For prospective homebuyers, the decision to wait for further rate reductions should be weighed against finding a home that fulfills their desires and remains within their financial means. Donnell highlights the prolonged adjustment period to higher mortgage rates, emphasizing the importance of considering the long-term commitment of homeownership.

Mortgage rates now sit below 5% for those with sub-75% LTV and between 4-5% for those with larger deposits. This favourable scenario is anticipated to drive home sales in 2024, prioritizing transaction volumes over substantial price increases.

What will happen to house prices in 2024?

As the market recovers, a 20% rise in available homes boosts buyer choices. Increased buyer activity (+12%) and higher agreed sales (+13%) present a positive outlook for sellers. Yet, caution arises as some sellers, especially in the south of England, must accept offers 10% below asking prices to secure sales.

In 2024, the real estate market sees heightened activity, but challenges linger. Sellers grapple with buyer sensitivity and a value-focused approach. Acknowledging market dynamics, price adjustments may be necessary due to evolving mortgage rates. Throughout the year, stakeholders anticipate ongoing developments for a robust real estate environment.