Number of property sales on track for 10-year low as house price growth ‘slows to lowest level since 2012’

Person looking at property for sale in estate agent window

Higher mortgage rates and cost of living pressures are having an impact on the housing market

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 30/08/2023

- 09:54

Updated: 30/08/2023

- 14:49

Higher mortgage rates and cost of living pressures are having an impact on the housing market, but faster wage growth is improving housing affordability, analysis suggests

The number of property sales taking place across the UK this year is on track to hit the lowest level in more than a decade, a property website has said.

About one million sales could be completed in 2023, around a fifth (21 per cent) lower than in 2022, according to Zoopla’s latest house price index.

It would be the lowest total since 2012 and equate to the average household moving once every 23 years – significantly below the eight years Zoopla usually considers to be the typical average time to move house.

The fall is largely from mortgaged buyers, with the number of mortgaged sales expected to drop 28 per cent compared to last year.

House for sale and sold signs

Cash sales are predicted to fall just one per cent on last year, Zoopla said


Cash sales are predicted to fall just one per cent on last year.

UK house prices have risen 0.1 per cent in the last year, the slowest rate since 2012, according to the house price index.

Property website Zoopla said there has been a rapid slowdown in house price inflation over the last year, due to weaker demand, fewer sales and more price-sensitive buyers.

Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla, said: “House price growth has slowed rapidly over the last year as demand weakens in the face of higher mortgage rates.

“Prices are falling more in southern England, where higher mortgage rates have priced more people out of the housing market, weakening demand.

“While UK house prices are 0.1 per cent higher over the year, it is the number of sales that have been hit hardest by higher borrowing costs, especially amongst mortgage-reliant buyers.

“Cash buyers are more immune and on track to account for more than one in three sales in 2023.

“Mortgage rates have started to fall slowly but rates need to fall below five per cent before we see an increased appetite to move home in the second half of 2023.”

Zoopla said the housing market continues to feel the impact of higher mortgage rates and cost of living pressures, meaning weaker demand and fewer sales as well as low house price growth.

It said affordability, meaning house prices and the cost of mortgage repayments, remains the “primary barrier” to more sales in the UK housing market.

However, rising average wages will improve housing affordability, regardless of higher mortgage rates, it said.

The company said it expects the number of property sales to recover well in the coming two to three years.

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