The Fenn Wright Buyers Intentions Survey for 2023

01 Dec 22

Alan Williams discusses property market sentiment as we look ahead to the New Year

As the year draws to a close, at Fenn Wright we always like to take the opportunity to talk to a selected pool from our thousands of potential buyers to get a feeling for the type of market we will be working in during 2023.  This year, in the second half of November, we interviewed 163 buyers who are registered on our database looking for property across Essex and Suffolk.  We asked a range of questions, from their dream location to their favourite places to eat, drink and relax, but one key question produced a very interesting outcome.

The respondents were questioned following the political and economic turbulence we experienced in the autumn, as we wanted to learn how they saw property prices changing in 2023.  The results were not unexpected: 73% of our sample saw prices decreasing with 18% taking the view prices would remain stable.  A relatively low 7% believed prices would increase and 2% were unsure.

Many institutions and expert commentators forecast prices falling, perhaps by 5% in 2023 and a further 5% in 2024.  What is striking, however, is that most people in the 73% (prices decreasing) category intend buying a property in the first or second quarter and the remainder plan a purchase in quarters three or four.  These people are planning to buy in a market where they believe prices are falling.

I think that tells us that we have a sophisticated buyer pool who are prepared to take a longer term view on property prices because of the strong underlying demand for housing – especially in our region.  The pandemic put many life plans on hold and the resulting pent-up demand released a wave of buying activity which, throughout most of 2022, had been settling back to more ‘normal’ seasonal trading.  This autumn’s economic turbulence, in particular the upward pressure on interest rates, turned ‘settling’ into ‘pausing’ – resulting in many plans once again being put on hold which significantly lowered normal transaction volumes.  Our survey appears to show that the New Year could see a return to more normal patterns of buying activity.  It will probably still be a market that favours buyers, and our teams of negotiators will therefore be working hard to do just that – negotiate effectively to help our clients secure a buyer.

People looking to find a property next year may have the advantage of competing against fewer rivals than the post-pandemic rush and therefore have a better chance of securing their first-choice home.

We now have some post-budget market stability and if the outlook for inflation and interest rates continues to improve, those who hit the pause button this autumn may well get back to their life plans in the spring.

If you are thinking of selling and would like advice from your local experts at Fenn Wright, please click here to arrange a market appraisal or get in touch with your local branch.