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What buyers will be looking for in the New Year rush

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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With all the fresh motivation of a brand-new year, there follows an influx of buyers beginning their searches for a new home in earnest – the famed Boxing Day Bump. If you’re planning to make the most of this season to sell your property, here’s what you should do now.

The best time for good news

Interest rates are easing, and mortgage approval rates are beating the forecasts. The Bank of England are not expected to increase the base rate any further for the time being, giving people a chance to make their move in the property market.

This positive message in the mortgage market is filtering through newsrooms now, which is the best possible boost to buyer sentiment going into the new year.

There is a surprising, growing potential in the London market. Zoopla’s November House Price Index says, “A steady return to office working is also supporting sales and pricing, with new sales rebounding more in London in the last two months than anywhere else.”

At Foxtons, we’ve recognised an increasingly buoyant market in Q4, which is proving resilient as we head towards the new year. Combining this new momentum in the sales market with news of mortgage rates falling, sellers have reason to be eager about 2024’s new year rush.

Buyers are looking for homes that stand out

With so much competition, it's important to make your home the one buyers remember, as we discussed in last year’s New Year article, How to make your home stand out in a busy market. Here’s a quick recap:

Buyers are looking for great value

Let’s delve deeper into that last point, how to price correctly for this market, because it is the most important. James Stevenson, Area Director – South & South West advises, “buyers still benefit from more choice, and there’s a general election on the horizon that may affect market dynamics next year. So, while there is opportunity for sellers to achieve a great sale in this market, they will also need to set a price that motivates buyers to look and to act.”

“There is a fairly even balance between buyers and sellers, in terms of who holds the negotiating power. This might be the best market we have seen for a while that suits all parties.”

~ James Stevenson, Foxtons Area Director – South & South West

Rightmove’s 2024 forecast confirms that buyers will have much more housing options “compared to the stock-starved pandemic years,” however, it goes on to say amount of stock has just barely risen above pre-pandemic levels.

James adds, “It’s also very important to note that it goes both ways. If you’re looking at trading up or down alongside your sale, the choice in this market makes it a great time to buy. All in all, there is a fairly even balance between buyers and sellers, in terms of who holds the negotiating power. This might be the best market we have seen for a while that suits all parties.”

Our Valuers are highly knowledgeable about the current property market, through their own extensive experience in the local community, through insight on buyer trends across our London network and using data from Foxtons proprietary database – one of the largest there is for London property. Book a valuation, and we will help you find the best pricing strategy for your property.

Read about it in: Sellers’ guide to setting the right price for your property

Buyers are looking to downsize

Homeowners who have paid off their mortgage have agency to make a purchase in the new year, whether they’re downsizing to save time and money on a house that no longer suits their needs, or they’re making some room to upsize their lifestyle with a new home closer in the City, or they’re playing Bank of Mum and Dad to support a first-time buyer.

This audience will love one- and two-bed homes in peaceful and amiable areas like Richmond and upscale, centralised communities like Kensington, but they’re looking for something different all across London, so get in touch with us if you want help reaching them.

Read about it in: Downsizers driving London demand for new homes

Buyers are looking for energy savings

Previously, green features were a ‘nice to have,’ but not really high in buyers’ priorities. Now, with the impact of energy prices and the popularity of smart meters putting a spotlight on the realities of energy waste, a home with green features makes more of a splash. Energy-efficient appliances, newer and more efficient boilers or even heat pumps, double glazing, solar panels can pique buyers’ attention. This is not to say making grand, sweeping renovations on your property before selling will get you a better asking price. We always recommend you book a valuation first.

Read about it in: 7 ways to enhance your property's green credentials

Buyers are looking for WFH space

While the numbers of people headed back into offices is steadily increasing, hybrid working is here to stay, and we're seeing that work from home space is in high demand. Whether it's an extra box room, a larger than average reception with a corner to tuck a desk in, or an outhouse in the garden, buyers are interested in the extra space.

Buyers are looking for DIY projects

January is the season of renovation. But we recommend, if you’re thinking of selling your house, you DIY with caution. There’s a great market, especially this time of year, for buyers who want a home they can do a little work on to match their own vision and lifestyle. So it’s even harder than normal to predict whether the work you do will achieve that higher asking price you’re looking for, or if the right buyer for your property would prefer something different.

“If you are planning on staying in this home, do whatever makes you happy living in it. But if you’re extending or spending money with a view to sell, you’ll want to get insight on the local market first.” James explains, “Do your research on what is selling in the local market and keep an eye on not overdeveloping or over-specing for your target market. Having the biggest property in an area that doesn’t support the price may not always attract the best return, in spite of cost.”

Again, we recommend you book a valuation now. We invest in local area expertise so we can help you make the right plan for your property and local market. Sometimes it removes hurdles to your sale to get a bit of work done before putting it on the market, sometimes it’s best to go ahead and catch buyers attention at just the right time – we can provide that insight to inform your strategy.

Last year's advice still rings true. Read it in: It's the most wonderful time of the year...to start a property sale.

Read more insight on selling your property:

Do you know the difference between a market appraisal and a valuation?

What local knowledge can do for a property sale

9 things sellers should know what happens at a property viewing

How happy is your buyer?

The documents you need to sell a house

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