September 2023 Market Comment

After 14 straight increases, the Bank of England announced a freeze on their base interest rate, which remains at 5.25%.

The surprising move has already had a positive impact on property buyers and sellers. This has caused some stability to the market and we have noticed a distinct increase in the number of buyers and sellers coming to the market to secure a new purchase and sale.

The surprising move by the Bank to freeze rates, comes after inflation was revealed to have slowed to 6.7% in August – a far bigger fall than was expected.

Yet despite continued economic uncertainty, serious property seekers are proceeding regardless. The current market is not all about plummeting prices and transactions - far from it. Motivated buyers are still seeking properties, and so serious sellers who price sensibly to the current market conditions are attracting offers.

Whilst very low mortgage rates deals are long gone, new buyers coming into the market are accepting the new conditions which is also underpinning confidence therefore helping the stability which is needed for a healthy property market. 

Further competition is edging into the mortgage market, which bodes well. Lenders have money to lend and are keen to do so, with many reducing fixed-rate mortgages and easing criteria, offering better terms to self-employed borrowers and improved loan-to-income multiples to help with affordability. Sub-5 per cent fixes are available and more are expected in the fourth quarter. While the markets expect another rate hold at the Bank’s November meeting, all eyes will be on inflation figures before then to see whether they continue moving in the right direction.

Data released from shows that buyer and seller sentiment proved extremely resilient in September. Nearly three-quarters of buyers (74%) were confident that they’d purchase a property within the next three months compared to 75% in August. Seller confidence was less strong, perhaps reflecting the relative power of buyers compared with sellers but even so, 61% of UK sellers were confident that they’d sell within the next three months in September, unchanged from August.

This resilience is further underlined when you consider that just over a third of properties (37%) were Sold Subject to Contract within 30 days of first being listed in September, only marginally down from 38% in August. The figure may be lower than the 53% in September 2022 when the market was more buoyant, but given prevailing economic headwinds, the high cost of living and elevated mortgage rates, this consistency and stability is noteworthy.

Rental Prices Hit New Highs

The Telegraph reports that the growth in rental prices hit a new record high as the national rental crisis deepens, official data shows. Rents in London rose by 5.9pc year-on-year, the fastest pace since records began in 2006, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Across the UK, rent growth hit a new high for the sixteenth month in a row, with costs climbing by 5.5pc. The jump in rental costs has been so great, that the increase in the past 12 months is higher than the increase over the four years from 2015 to 2019. 

Several factors have contributed to the sharp increase, including higher mortgage rates for landlords, which have been passed on to tenants, as well as demand for rental properties continuing to far outweigh the supply available.


For the first time in 12 months, we are experiencing a definite shift in confidence as buyers take a long term view of their housing requirements. This does not mean that buyers will pay more than expected, they still want to negotiate the purchase price, however as sellers become more realistic on current market trends, more sales are being agreed.

For more local property market news and updates and a more detailed overview of the Dartford and Crayford property markets, please get in touch with Livermores The Estate Agents on 01322228090 or 01322 550777 or email or