Prospective buyer numbers surge after Christmas fall: Propertymark

Propertymark's latest figures show that buyer demand is on the up following the traditional festive lull, with the average number of new prospective buyers registered per estate agency branch increasing by 120% in January.

Related topics:  Property,  Demand,  Buyers,  Housing Market
Property | Reporter
1st March 2024
"The new year has arrived and those who had delayed selling, buying, and renting in November and December 2023 have returned to the market on mass"
- Nathan Emerson - Propertymark

Propertymark's latest Housing Insight Report which covers January 2024 has highlighted a 120% rise in the number of prospective buyers entering the market compared to December. However, although activity is marginally up in comparison to 2023, it is more subdued than in 2022.

Supply and stock

New supply is also up, increasing by around 79% on December's low, with around 8 homes placed for sale per member branch in January. This is broadly in line with activity levels witnessed in 2022 and 2023.

As supply has increased, so too has average stock levels, with a marginal increase visible in January 2023. Stock levels are higher in January 2024 than during the same periods in both 2022 and 2023.

Sales agreed

The number of agreed sales per member branch receives a post-Christmas bounce, rising from around 4 in December 2023 to around 6 in January 2024. January's figures are broadly in line with performance at the same points in 2022 and 2023, according to the data.

Asking prices continue to fluctuate

This month, fewer agents reported properties selling at below the asking price, with a corresponding increase in those selling properties at or above the asking price. However, a misalignment between valuation levels and market expectations remains.

Rental market

The number of new prospective tenants registered per member branch increased from 63 in December 2023 to 97 in January 2024. Stock levels have improved following the Christmas period and now stand at an 18-month high.

However, the level of demand (measured by prospective tenant registrations) still outstrips stock levels.

On average, there were around 8 new applicants registered per member branch for each available property. This is lower than at the same point last year but still represents a significant supply and demand mismatch.

19% growth in the number of tenancies

Now that Christmas has passed, tenants are once again keen to move. This has resulted in the average number of new tenaces agreed per member branch increasing in January 2024, albeit at a slightly lower level than in January 2023.


Almost half of agents point to rental charges levelling out. However, there has been an increase in the number reporting rising rents over the previous month (39% in January 2024 versus 35% in December 2023). There has also been a decrease in the number reporting rent falls (11% versus 15%).

Arrears and voids

After an anticipated spike in rental arrears in December 2023, rental arrears have fallen back within established boundaries in January 2024. The average void period elongated marginally in January but remains within established parameters.

Nathan Emerson, Propertymark CEO, comments: "The new year has arrived and those who had delayed selling, buying, and renting in November and December 2023 have returned to the market on mass.

"However, there has been little change in the economic environment that households must contend with- interest rates are stable but are higher than those seeking mortgages or remortgages would prefer; inflation remains some way off UK Government targets, and GDP performance has been lacklustre. To complete this picture, the global geopolitical and economic landscape remains challenging.

"In the residential sales sector, there has been a 120% increase in the number of potential buyers registered. On the supply side, there has been an 80% increase in the number of properties coming to market. However, whilst the gap is closing, there remains a mismatch between valuations and market expectations, with most members noting that properties are still selling at below asking price.

"The lettings sector has also rebounded after the festive break, with a positive increase in the number of prospective tenants registered and the number of properties available to rent. However, this will be a challenging year for the UK’s private rented sectors due to a plethora of proposed legislative changes. We will monitor the impact of these changes as they arise.

"Although 2024 has started well, it remains to be seen how long this initial uptick in activity will be sustained."

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