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UK Sales Market Update

5th June 2023

Welcome to our Property Market blog, where we provide you with insightful information on the latest trends in the housing market. In this edition, we'll focus on the sales market, highlighting key statistics and offering valuable insights for both buyers and sellers.


1. Transaction Stats:

In January 2023, there was a 10% reduction in property sales recorded year on year, while new home purchases saw a 9% rise in completions. Mortgage approvals experienced a significant 46% reduction, with gross lending down approximately 7%. The decrease in mortgage approvals from the second half of the previous year largely explains the significant difference in lending statistics.


2. Buyer Demand:

According to the latest ARLA Housing Insight Report, there was a 30% fall in the number of prospective buyers registered across member branches in April 2023 compared to April 2022. Additionally, member branches reported a 70% increase in properties available for sale year-on-year. These figures indicate a drop in buyer demand, likely influenced by higher mortgage rates and economic challenges affecting affordability.


3. Market Activity and Pricing:

Rightmove reported that agreed sales numbers are currently just 3% behind the pre-pandemic market of 2019. The average price of properties coming to the market experienced a 1.8% month-on-month increase in May, reflecting robust activity levels and confidence. Sales agreed in May showed positive growth, and the level of negotiation from the asking price to the sale agreed price remained steady at around 3%.


4. Mortgage Rates and Affordability:

Despite an increase in the Bank of England base rate, mortgage rates have remained steady. The average 5-year fixed rate with a 15% deposit is now 4.56%, significantly lower than the 5.89% recorded last October. This decrease in mortgage rates contributes to maintaining home mover confidence in the market outlook.


5. House Price Growth and Market Activity:

The Zoopla house price index reveals a year-on-year price growth of 1.9%, the lowest in recent times compared to the 9.6% recorded a year ago. Prices have fallen by an average of 1.3% in the last 6 months due to higher mortgage rates and rising living costs. However, buyer confidence has improved, resulting in an increase in sales agreed, primarily driven by falling mortgage rates during the Spring.


Regional Property Price Movements:

The West Midlands region has seen year-on-year price growth of 3.5%, surpassing the national average of 1.9%. Birmingham ranks second among major cities, with a growth rate of 3.8%, just behind Nottingham at 3.9%. These figures indicate a significant difference compared to last April when the year-on-year price increase approached 10%.


The Outlook for the Sales Market:

Market activity in the UK sales market remains comparable to pre-pandemic levels. However, predictions suggest that mortgage rates may increase in the second half of the year, impacting affordability and pricing. It is anticipated that the year-end may see approximately 20% fewer transactions than the previous year. Sensible and realistic pricing is crucial for sellers, while buyers should not be discouraged as long as the numbers align. As the year progresses, increased stock levels may provide negotiation opportunities.



The UK sales market demonstrates resilience, with activity levels approaching pre-pandemic norms. Understanding market dynamics, considering pricing strategies, and staying updated on mortgage rate changes are vital for both buyers and sellers. Seek professional advice and remain adaptable to navigate the ever-evolving property market successfully.

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