The year just gone has certainly a busy one for the UK’s housing market, with 2022 kicking off with some record-breaking hikes in values across East Sussex, along with unprecedented demand and properties changing hands like the proverbial hot cakes.

But as the year wore on, understandably the market settled down to something more akin to the way it was during the pre-pandemic times. And as interest rates rose and increases in the cost of living began to kick in, some buyers chose to put off moving home, leading some in the industry to describe 2022 as ‘a year of two halves’.

What could that mean for house values in the New Year?

In 2022, house prices in East Sussex rose by 6% to an average of £431,000 and across all of our areas in Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne we saw a huge demand for property with people more than even seeking homes by the coast.

As for 2023, one major property portal forecasts a comparatively modest dip in asking prices of 2%. However, even this will mean values are still higher than in the wake of the flurry of activity we saw last year.

One of Britain’s biggest lenders, the Nationwide, meanwhile puts its own forecast at a 5% dip; the Halifax predicts the fall could be a little higher, and the figure 5% is also given by another major property website.

There is a sense that the amount of time it will take to sell a home will also increase, to a more ‘normal’ period of around 60 days, again in keeping with how things were pre-pandemic. So buyers will perhaps take more time to find the home that is right for them.

One of the factors driving house values has been the limited supply of properties for sale, although this may even out if demand dips as we head into 2023.

But there are still a number of indications that some purchasers are all set to get started with their property moves as we head into 2023. For example, views of homes for sale on the property portal mentioned above are up 11% with the end of 2021.

Equally, the recent festive period will have given many people the chance to think about their next move, and to do some research, including online video tours of properties and so on. Boxing Day, for example, is a particularly popular search day. So if you advertised your home in December, there’s every chance the viewings will be coming in this month.

At the same time, a number of analysts claim that the impact of the current economic situation on property prices will be less than some expect. Business consultancy Hargreaves Lansdown, for example, predicts interest rates will peak at 4% this year, rather lower than some expected following last autumn’s mini-budget.

And, after all, no one is saying there will be anything like the 16% fall which we saw in the wake of the 2008 financial crash. Paula Higgins of consumer group Home Owners’ Alliance described price changes as a ‘correction’ rather than a crash.

It may well be that the more casual would-be movers who just fancy a change do put off moving. But those who actively want to downsize, or need to change homes for work or personal reasons will still be making their moves.

In other good news, price dips often favour first-time buyers, while independent service Moneyfacts reports that the choice on offer for mortgages is as good now as it was before the mini-budget, after which many products were removed from the market.

Meanwhile, lenders’ organisation UK Finance says more than a quarter of the newer mortgages are designed to last at least three decades, making repayments easier.

Finally, some market trends may return to pre-pandemic status, with people perhaps becoming less worried about having space such as a garden, given that we’re all no longer cooped up as we were during lockdown. That means that we could see flats, for example, gaining in popularity, especially among younger or first-time buyers.

Oakfield says

Once again, we’re keen to stress that, while crystal balls are in short supply, it’s certainly not all doom and gloom in the market as 2023 gets underway. And there are more options for buying and selling your home than you may have realised. We’re expecting that all our branches in Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne will continue to do a brisk trade this year and the start to the year we have had certainty reflects that.. So we’d encourage you to contact us to discuss your next move, whether you’re a purchaser, tenant, landlord or vendor we would love to assist you.

Check out our website with our branch contact pages here.

Make 2023 the time of your exciting new home move – equally, of course, our very best wishes for a Happy New Year.