State of Your Local Property Market: January 2024

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As January draws to a close, the UK property market’s trajectory in 2024 remains conflicted, with mixed messages in the headlines. In such times, it’s essential to turn to local experts offering an honest, no-nonsense perspective.

At Sims Williams, we pride ourselves on delivering transparent insights into the property landscape, with particular focus on the state of your local property markets in Arundel, Bognor Regis, Chichester, Walberton, and the Six Villages. As January unfolded, our observations of the West Sussex market present a resilient and positive picture. The activity buzzing through our branches signals an unexpectedly strong start to the year, challenging the traditional January narrative. This prompts us to delve into the factors behind this encouraging trend and provides a sneak peek into what might unfold across our local areas in the coming months.

Count on us to guide you with integrity, drawing on our experience and facts. Stay tuned for a reliable overview of the local market and insights into what 2024 might have in store for homebuyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants.

The current landscape

We asked the owner of Sims Williams, Richard Moores (MNAEA,) how he has found the start of 2024 so far:

“In this Olympic year, I’m pleased to say that the housing market is up and running!

Following on from January’s activity, enquiry levels have continued to increase with more and more properties coming to the market in all price ranges. We have seen sales recently agreed on 1-bedroom apartments through to move substantial family houses over £1m.

We are seeing many potential sellers take our advice and bring the homes to market now as opposed to waiting for the Spring, that way we are finding buyers for their property, and they are now on their marks and in a strong position when their dream home comes to market.

With mortgage rates providing more opportunities for First Time Buyers, activity in the starter home market has seen a significant increase which has an obvious positive impact on the rest of the market.

We too are seeing an increase in New Homes sales activity with buyers favouring the advantages offered by buying an energy efficient brand new home. We are in the enviable position of having several New Homes sites that we’ll be launching over the coming months including the highly anticipated Oakley Green development in Lavant.

An exciting start to the year with much more to come!”

According to Propertymark, the market has become significantly price sensitive. In the words of Nathan Emerson, the Chief Executive of Propertymark: “As we approach 2024, there are still pressures on house prices, and further adjustments are required to align valuations with market expectations. We can expect an active start to the year, but whether this sets the tone for the rest of the year will depend on the overall economy’s stability and the policymakers’ actions.”

It’s essential for sellers not to be overly ambitious with prices, and consider their priorities when entering the market. It’s important to pay attention to selling agents, who have an intimate understanding of the local housing market in your area, and where possible, specifically on your street.

Are you thinking of selling? Whether it’s to arrange a valuation for sale or friendly advice on any aspect of moving, do please get in touch.

Mortgage rates

Thanks to pent-up demand and mortgage rates falling below 5%, property sales and demand in the UK have risen at the start of 2024. Lenders are facing a challenging environment with conflicting rate trends. While some are offering their most competitive rates in months, others are struggling to keep up with swap rate changes. Despite these challenges, the overall outlook remains positive. Average rates are still on the decline, with further reductions in this week’s data and more expected to come. Consequently, individuals looking for a mortgage in the near future can expect to find more attractive deals than those that were offered during their peak six months ago.

As of Friday 26th January 2024, the current average mortgage rates are shown below:

Rental market review

We caught up with Senior Branch Manager in Chichester, David Vawdrey (MARLA), to hear how 2024 has started in the lettings side of business:

“January 2024 has seen a steady start for the lettings sector, with stable demand for “bread and butter” properties, in contrast to the frenzied activity we experienced over much of 2023. The picture is slightly more nuanced than this, however, as more expensive properties (over £2,000 a month), are taking longer to let than those below this level.

Stock levels have come down somewhat and most agents across the south – east have reported that rents are continuing to stabilise after the significant rent increases we have seen over the last 3 years. This should lead to a more healthy and balanced market. Buy to let mortgage rates have eased a little, with most pundits anticipating base rates to come down over the next few months, which should ease pressure on landlords. Overall, therefore, the picture for the lettings sector is reasonable and we expect a solid 2024, with good demand for rented property, particularly typical two and three bedroom flats and houses.

Renter’s Reform Bill: according to David Cox, formerly of Propertymark and who is now employed at Rightmove, the Bill may not come into force until late 2025 and may be subject to further scrutiny and alterations, with a general election before then which may well influence matters as well. We will continue to update landlords as and when there is tangible news”.

The road ahead

As January concludes, Sims Williams encourages homebuyers and sellers to act in the current buyer’s market to make the most of current market conditions. Price compromise remains key, considering the price-sensitive landscape, and working with trusted local agents is more important than ever to give you the best chance for a smooth and successful transaction.

Sims Williams are estate and letting agents with offices in Arundel, Bognor Regis, Chichester and The Six Villages. For expert advice on all things property or for a free no obligation market appraisal, do contact your local Sims Williams office. We are here to guide you through every step of your journey, providing professional advice, support and guidance you can trust. 

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Letting our former holiday home for the first time was a new experience. We decided to have three agents visit. David and his team stood out. Attention to our personal wishes in terms of a tenant, excellent follow up after the initial visit, good marketing and a very personal approach by the team. The letting process went smoothly. The team kept us in touch and arranged all necessary legal obligations etc. We are a week in to the let…..so, early days! So far, I have only praise for this agent. Thank you Sims Williams.
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My experience with Sims Williams was exceptional. I bought my property through them not so long ago. I recently had to relocate for work. I needed to get tenants in my property as fast as I could and move. I was managing a full-time job working from home. I also needed information and support as a new landlord. Not only that Sims Williams agents were highly professional in delivering timely services they simply took me in, and went way beyond their official duties to help with a smooth transition. It’s for this “ homely feel” in the way they treated me twice that I give them a 5 star and recommend them to anyone who appreciates being valued.
Damaris - Landlord - Jan 28th, 2021

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Philip- Vendor - Jan 6th, 2023

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We recently purchased a property through Sims Williams, throughout the process, Megan and the team were friendly, accommodating and proactive which made the experience of buying our first property a joy. We are really happy in our new home and would highly recommend them!
Sam & Melanie - Buyers - Aug 3rd, 2022

The Long and Winding Road

It was a long 18 month slog! Sims Williams stood by us all the way. Updates and constantly in touch every week. A special mention to John Wyatt, couldn’t have done it without him. Thank you !!
Pete & Karen - Vendors - May 10th, 2021

Not just another Buyer!

I had nothing but a positive experience with Sims Williams. Very helpful team, always responded quickly and will go above and beyond to make sure the process is as easy and stress free as possible. Emma was amazing, totally professional but extremely friendly, giving advise and opinions that were not always related to the property. Moving from a completely different county and not always knowing who to ask or contact, Emma was always on hand to help. Emma made me feel that we were not just another buyer but someone she was interested in. Thank you.
Sam - Buyer - Jun 17th, 2021

Seamless from beginning to end!

Selling our parents house was a daunting prospect so we have to thank the team at the Sims Williams Bognor Office who really did make it as pain free as it could possibly be! From the valuation to the open day and right through the sales process, John and his team kept us informed and nothing was too much trouble. Having bought and sold property before, we both know that’s not always the case and, in this instance where we were acting on behalf of family, it was doubly important to get it right so we can’t thank John and his team enough enough for their professionalism and help. We would happily recommend their service to anyone looking for that same support. Thank you!
Carol- Vendor - Jun 13th, 2022

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We had a fantastic experience with Sims Williams when we purchased our new home, the staff were personable, helpful and professional throughout the entire process. Would certainly recommend!
Chris Hicks - Buyer - Jul 6th, 2021

A REALLY PROFESSIONAL AND HELPFUL TEAM

The Sims team at Arundel are a professional team. Very responsive and helpful.
Mel - Buyer - Dec 2nd, 2020