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Cautious optimism for homebuyers as mortgage interest rates stabilise

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There’s cautious optimism for UK homebuyers, with mortgage interest rates stabilising and lenders now reducing rates on fixed mortgage deals. So, anyone moving home or remortgaging should soon be under less pressure.

It comes after the rate of inflation remained at 6.7% in September, according to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) due to food prices easing.

London house prices softening

The ONS also reported that London house prices fell 1.4% in the year to August, yet the average sold price of a property in London was £536,000, remaining the most expensive area in the UK to buy a property.

Nationwide’s House Price Index showed London house prices declined by 3.8% year-on-year to £514,325 in Q3 of 2023. However, this is an improvement on Q2 when house prices fell by 4.3%.

So, London’s housing market appears to be holding up.

homebuyers as mortgage interest rates stabilise

Demand for well-priced properties

Our records confirm the market’s resilience. With interest rates steadier, buyers are feeling more confident and actively continuing their property search, with well-priced properties attracting enquiries. Pricing is key as most buyers want to stick to their budget in case of further interest rate rises.

Enquiries growing from international investors

Demand is growing from overseas cash buyers investing in London – a ‘safe haven’ whose economic stability and respected legal and financial frameworks offer security against a backdrop of global unrest.

These wealthy cash buyers are underpinning demand in many areas, as interest rates don’t affect purchasing decisions – favourable exchange rates are far more important.

homebuyers as mortgage interest rates stabilise

Prime London property market seeing increase in enquiries

The Prime Central London property market is seeing an increase in market activity, with demand strengthening after a slowdown in Q3. We monitor demand for London’s most expensive properties based on market activity – the proportion of homes listed for sale across the prime market that have already been sold subject to contract.

Hotspots include Clapham, where 47.5% of homes listed for sale between £2m and £10m are already sold subject to contract. Chiswick (41.8%) and Highgate (38.6%) are also seeing high demand from high-end buyers. Clapham has seen levels increase by 9% since Q2 of 2023.

Traditional prime areas have also seen notable increases. Fitzrovia has seen the largest increase year-on-year (5.3%), followed by Putney (3.9%), Regent’s Park (2.3%) and Islington (2.3%).

Read our latest research on London property prices here.

Sterling Place
Sterling Place by Barratt London

New developments attracting overseas interest

Our overseas offices have been launching new developments, attracting strong interest from clients.

Waterhouse Gardens in Manchester has attracted many enquiries from clients through our Hong Kong office while Singapore investors are already reserving apartments in Primrose House, the first phase of Camden Goods Yard in London NW1.

In South London, One Clapham Junction was well received at our Malaysia office’s launch event, while Sterling Place in South-West London has enjoyed success in our first global launch as part of our strategic partnership with Barratt London.

London lettings market remains super busy

The ongoing shortage of properties to rent in London is underpinning high demand – and rising rents. The ONS showed that rents in London increased by 6.2% in the year to September – a record increase – up from 5.9% in August.

Rightmove reports that the average number of enquiries per rental property in the UK stands at 25 – up from eight just four years ago.

Homebuyers as mortgage interest rates stabilise
Southall Branch at The Green Quarter

Our new lettings branch opens at The Green Quarter

To meet soaring demand in London, we are continuing our programme of new branch openings.

This month we opened our latest branch – at The Green Quarter by Berkeley Group – in West London. We are the only letting agent with a branch on-site and our team has been overwhelmed by the response from tenants and landlords. We have many new instructions and apartments are flying out as soon as they become available.

New apartments completing across London

In West London, our Hammersmith branch is busy with the latest phase at Chelsea Creek, SW6 where one bed apartments are letting for £675 per week and two beds for £800-£875 per week.

At nearby Kings Road Park, we’ve let several two bed flats for £900-£970 per week, while at Fulham Reach apartments are letting quickly – £675-£725 per week for a one-bed and £900-£950 per week for a two bed.

In the City and East London, demand is slowing a little now that students are settled and the university term has begun. But this is being replaced by robust demand from professionals moving back to the city now that they work in the office more regularly. Popular developments include London Dock, One Blackfriars and Lincoln Square. Our Canary Wharf is reporting that well-priced stock is letting immediately.

Another hotspot is Nine Elms where our branch reports that new apartments at Oval Village are letting well and we have good stocks. Studios are letting for £575+ per week, one beds from £625 per week and two beds from £825 per week. We also have apartments completing at Prince of Wales Drive in Battersea SW11, with two beds letting for £1000 per week.

Contact our sales and lettings branches across London

Whether you are buying, selling or letting a property in London, please get in touch with your local Benham & Reeves branch for the latest market information.


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents.  With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 15 international offices.