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Market update

As we enter the New Year many people understandably start to think about moving home.

Clearly 2023 was a challenging year with the high cost of living and rising interest rates. However, there are some positive signs for 2024 and beyond.

Inflation halved over the course of the last twelve months and the recent Autum Statement from the Chancellor saw a number of measures designed to build economic growth and at least mitigate the tax burden on individuals. A 2% reduction in National Insurance has already come into effect and keeping the triple lock will see state pensions rise by 8.7% in April.

Interest rate increases for those with mortgages are clearly painful but lenders have been “stress testing” the ability of people to pay higher rates for the last ten to fifteen years and therefore the amount of arrears and volumes of repossessions remains very low. Many people remain on fixed rate schemes and haven’t, as yet, seen any change in their monthly payments.

Whilst we may see some further changes in the Bank of England base rate, it is generally felt that we have peaked on mortgage rates, already in 2024 we have seen, partly due to competitive pressures, most lenders start to reduce the cost of mortgages, particularly for those with higher levels of deposit and equity. It is also a fact that over 50% of UK home-owners do not have a mortgage at all.

With a General Election due this year (probably in November but we’ll have to await an announcement) there may be some uncertainty in the lead up to a vote but most people simply want to get on with their lives, take a medium to long term view and accept that sometimes the road to achieving ones goals has the odd bump along the way.

2023 saw transactional sales volumes reduce but only to the average levels of the last twenty years and house prices, whilst having adjusted downwards a few percentage points, have not collapsed and despite some ongoing uncertainty, do not look likely to do so. The Torquay market is a mature one and has proven to be particularly resilient, although not entirely immune, to the outside pressures of the economy.

Housebuilding volumes continue to be at low levels and, with the aforementioned General Election due later in the year, political parties are beginning to make optimistic promises on how they would create more homes through improving planning and setting targets. The low level of new supply is unhelpful overall but has ensured that the balance between supply and demand locally has remained reasonably balanced throughout the year and actually helps the maintenance of house prices.

Through all of the above, the market continues to function and research from Rightmove shows that a key factor in successfully selling is to price correctly at the outset. Bringing a property to the market at too high an asking price is seeing properties stagnate and, by the time a realistic position is taken, the property has lost momentum with potential buyers and prices achieved are weakened. In addition, these properties are far more likely to see a sale fall through after it has been agreed.

Taking professional and experienced advice has never been more important we are here to assist you through every step of your sales journey.

With kind regards.


Call, email or write to us at our office in Wellswood.

We will be delighted to answer any question or provide information on our beautiful town and surrounding area.

John Couch The Estate Agent
43 Ilsham Road

Telephone: 01803 296500
Email: [email protected]

Normal Opening Times
Monday - Friday: 9:00AM - 5:30PM
Saturday: 9:00AM - 12.30PM

Viewing out of hours also by appointment.
(We are closed Sundays)

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