It's the gift many beleaguered sellers have been begging Santa for — London house-hunters are almost a third more active this Christmas than last festive period, according to latest data.
Zoopla found that potential buyers made 30 per cent more inquiries about specific homes in the capital through its search portal in the four weeks to December 18, 2023 than the same period last year.
Agreed sales were up 18 per cent over the same period as sellers adjusted to the market and house-hunters looked to take advantage of softening mortgage rates and prices.
Property values fell in every borough in the year to November, the report showed. Outer districts suffered the most, with Croydon and Bromley seeing falls in excess of three per cent over the last 12 months.
London and South East areas with the biggest house price drops
Average house price November 2023
Change in 12months
Commuter areas such as Woking, Gravesham and the Mole Valley also saw 2 per cent drops.
Meanwhile uber-desirable central London boroughs Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, and Hammersmith and Fulham were among the five losing the least value this year, according to the study.
The City of London, technically a corporation that has a relatively tiny but generally expensive housing stock, actually saw values rise slightly.
London and South East areas with the smallest house price drops
Average house price in November 2023
Change in 12 months
City of London
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Source: Zoopla Zoopla executive director Richard Donnell said: “House price falls are greatest in outer London areas and the commuter belt as prices went up quicker over the pandemic than inner London."
He added: "House prices in outer London are adjusting more to the impact of higher borrowing costs as prices weaken off a higher base.”
Matt Thompson, head of sales at estate agents Chestertons, said: “December tends to be a quieter time of year in terms of property transactions but buyers have been more motivated this month to continue their search.
"Built-up demand caused by this year’s economic uncertainty is a key reason for this delay in buyer activity and indicates that 2024 will start off with a very active property market."
Zoopla's data also found that average UK buyers looked to move less than 5 miles from their existing homes. This distance doubled in the south of the country as house-hunters looked further afield to find space and value.
Nationwide buyer demand is a fifth higher than last December but still below pre-pandemic levels. The stock of homes on the market is up by a quarter from 2022.
Donnell said: “The housing market has been more resilient than many expected over 2023 but it hasn’t been a surprise to us.
"House price falls have been concentrated in the South and Midlands while prices are still slightly higher over the year in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
"UK housing still looks expensive by historic standards, which is why we expect UK house prices to fall a further 2 per cent over 2024 as prices and incomes realign."