March market snapshot

With the arrival of Spring comes what could be described as a normalized property market. Something to be welcomed and certainly feel positive about after the predicted doom and gloom by some at the end of 2022. 

We start with Rightmove's March reporting, always the safe place to get the national facts.

  • The average price of property coming to market rises by 0.8% (+£2,906) in February, mainly due to a 1.2% jump in the largest homes sector (top-of-the-ladder)

  • Annual asking price growth eases to +3.0%, with new seller asking prices now £5,800 below October’s peak as the market cautiously moves towards pre-pandemic activity levels despite economic turbulence

  • Typical first-time buyer type properties (two bedrooms and fewer) lead the recovery as we enter the spring market

  • Average newly marketed prices for this type of home are now just £500 lower than their record last year

  • Sales agreed in this sector are unexpectedly recovering fastest, and in the last two weeks are just 4% behind the same period in the more normal market of 2019, though 18% behind the exceptional 2022

  • Average mortgage rates have fallen back from their peak last year, with average rates for a 15% deposit five-year fixed mortgage now 4.65%, edging down from last month’s 4.75%, and October’s 5.89%

“The beginning of the spring season sees stability and confidence continuing to return to the market as it recovers from the turbulence at the end of 2022. The pace of the market reached an unsustainable level in the last two years and was on track to slow to a more normal level, though the speed of this slowdown to more normality was accelerated by the reaction to September’s mini-Budget. While higher mortgage rates and economic headwinds raise challenges, many potential home movers who were effectively side-lined in the frenetic bidding wars of the last two years will find that a slower-paced market gives them time to plan and secure their next move as we enter the traditional busy spring-buying season.“ Tim Bannister Rightmove’s Director of Property Science


'Supported by government decisions taken at Autumn Statement 2022, the economy and public finances have proved more resilient than expected in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) November 2022 forecast. Spring Budget 2023 takes further action to deliver on three of the Prime Minister’s five priorities: halving inflation, growing the economy, and getting debt falling. The OBR’s latest forecast shows that inflation will more than halve this year, the economy is on track to avoid recession with the gross domestic product (GDP) higher, and debt falling in the medium term' 

The Bank of England has raised the base rate of interest to 4%, its highest rate in 14 years, with expectations the rate will peak at 4.5% this year.

The March budget had little direct impact on the housing market. Stamp duty is unchanged and there are no big changes for landlords, other than a lower level of tax-free gains before paying capital gains tax. The Chancellor has focused the Budget on stimulating the economy and jobs, encouraging as many people as possible to keep working and help fill the UK’s 1m job vacancies. 
Focusing on economic growth and jobs ultimately supports the housing market as the health of the housing market is directly linked to the health of the economy.
Mortgage rates have fallen back to 4.5% for new home buyers. This is well down on the 6% high seen at the end of last year but remains more than double mortgage rates a year ago. The housing market can withstand higher mortgage rates and we have consistently argued that sub-5% mortgage rates would not lead to big price falls and this is bearing out. However, new buyers have 20% less buying power than a year ago. This doesn’t mean prices will fall by this much, but people will look to buy smaller homes or move to areas that offer better value for money. Others may look to inject more equity into home purchases where funds are available. 
Richard Donnell Executive Director - Research Zoopla


Annual property price growth has softened according to the latest indices released by the Halifax, Nationwide and Hometrack month-on-month prices are moderating. Price moderation of 6.8% is expected for the housing market over the course of 2023/24 according to the latest official forecasts by the Office of Budget Responsibility. Price growth of over 19% was recorded for 2021-22.

Over the last 12 months, the average sales price in Bristol was £367,794. The total value of sales was £1,871,491,863. 33% of sales in the past 12 months were flats, achieving an average sales price of £277,552. Houses achieved an average price of £422,56


Buyer demand in February 2023, while understandably lower year-on-year is 8% stronger than in the pre-pandemic 2017-2019 market, current market conditions are more aligned to that period (Zoopla). Mortgage approvals in January fell for the fifth month in succession. Just over 39,600 mortgages were approved the lowest monthly total since May 2020. The "effective" interest rate on newly-drawn mortgages rose to 3.88%. 40% of respondents to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey state they are seeing more interest from buyers in homes that are more energy efficient, with 61% of respondents stating energy-efficient homes were holding their value in current market conditions.


In the year to January, monthly rental prices in the UK rose by 4.4%, up from 4.2% in December. The ONS Index of Private Housing Rental Prices includes pre-existing and new lets. At £1,175, the average rent in the UK rose slightly in February, reversing the trend of the past 2 months. Growth was located outside of London, with average London rents decreasing for the third month in a row (Homelet). JLL predicts the cumulative growth in rental values will be 15.9% in the five years to 2027, with higher growth in 2023/24 followed by growth closer to 2%-3% in 2025-2027 as inflation is brought back under control.

As always, our teams are here to help, get in touch with any questions about your local property market, and to discuss your home move considerations. 

Sources: Rightmove, Zoopla, Dataloft, Land Registry, National House Price Index, DLUHC

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