As we say goodbye to 2022, it’s a great time for reflection, and looking back as well as forward.
Of course, the year has seen basic living costs soar, while interest rates in particular have also increased sharply. The Bank of England raised them in December by 0.5 percentage points, taking the base rate to 3.5, the highest it’s been in 14 years. And the latest hike was the Bank of England’s ninth consecutive rise, as it battled to quell inflation.
However, that doesn’t mean the news is all bad. The Land Registry’s UK House Price Index is the most dependable indication of what is going on with house prices, and it’s based on actual sales of properties and not asking prices. Because it operates with a two-month delay, its most recent figures are for the autumn. But as reported by consumer group Which?, the Land Registry latest statistics show the average price of a UK property rose by 12.6% year-on-year in October, to reach £296,422.
Indeed, during the first half of the year, demand could not keep up with supply, as too few properties came on to the market. ( Propertymark, the estate agent trade body, said its members offered on average 33 homes for sale per branch in November, which compares with the pre-pandemic figure of 51.)
Of course, challenges remain. And no one can possibly predict with confidence that the picture for 2023 will all be rosy. As we wrote in November, it is still too soon to assess the long-term impact of increased mortgage rates.
But, as we’ve said before, while 2022 certainly saw some political upheaval, we now have greater stability, and there is no evidence the political storm stopped anyone from moving house or buying a property.
During 2022, we have relaunched ourselves as a brand, with a new-look website. At the same time, a real highlight was the launch in June of our Community Pledge. We’ve always loved playing a key role in supporting our local areas, but this project allows us to do even more. It means that we donate £50 for every property sold, on completion. The vendor chooses one of our selected charities as the recipient of this money. They range from animal and homeless organisations to a day centre, a community hospice and mental-health charities among others; you can read more about them here.
We have handpicked half a dozen local organisations who we feel really deserve our support, and they’re all causes close to our hearts. At the same time, we remain supporters of schools and other projects, and encourage our staff to volunteer locally. Most recently, some staff members from our Bexhill office visited Demelza Children’s Hospice to give a hand while it was setting up for its Christmas party, and those involved were delighted to be able to lend a hand in this way.
Each month, we note on our blog how many donations we have made via our Community Pledge scheme.
So, all in all, we feel we can raise a glass to a busy year across our offices at Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne, and look forward to 2023 with confidence. If you have any queries about renting, selling, letting or buying in East Sussex, do be in touch. Our contact details can be found here.
We’re looking forward to continuing to be busy throughout 2023. Meanwhile, we wish you and your families a merry Christmas and a happy and successful new year.