2024: What we can expect from the Oxfordshire property market
2023 presented continued economic challenges for the UK, with a rather downbeat media narrative on the property market predicting downturns and significant falls in prices.
While interest rates continued to increase in the first part of the year, they have now been held at the current level of 5.25% since August, and recent inflation figures have also helped boost confidence for buyers.
Yet with an election all but guaranteed by the end of 2024, an element of uncertainty enters the mix.
In this blog, our property experts consider the national picture as well as local characteristics in our outlook for Oxfordshire’s property market in 2024.
2024 is almost certain to be an election year, which brings several considerations to the fore.
The prospect of a general election and change of government brings uncertainty over political and economic changes.
In previous election years, this has translated into a more subdued market as people hold off on moving until they have a clearer picture of policy decisions that could shape market conditions.
Such effects are less pronounced in the mid to prime markets, suggesting that the many good to best-in-class properties in Oxford and surrounds will continue to transact well.
There is also the possibility that the incumbent Conservative government may introduce a number giveaways aimed at buoying their popularity.
While major changes are unlikely, this could take the form of targeted reductions in stamp duty in an effort to appeal to voters with as a ‘crowd-pleaser’ tax cut aimed at stimulating the market.
After 14 consecutive increases in the Bank of England’s base rate, 5.25% may well represent a high point as it has now been held on three consecutive occasions since August.
Recent figures also demonstrated that the annual rate of inflation dropped to 3.9% in November, its lowest rate in over two years.
These factors combine to suggest that we may begin to see a return to lower interest rates in 2024.
Indeed, a number of lenders have already been prompted to cut five-year fixed rates demonstrating that wider confidence is now being restored in the market.
While it is important to keep abreast of more general national trends, there are a number of inherent characteristics that set Oxfordshire’s property market apart.
The city of Oxford and its surrounds possess a number of enduring pull factors.
The area enjoys a coveted geographic position and strong road and rail links with London, the southeast, Birmingham and Bristol, and no less than seven international airports within a 90-minute drive.
Economically, Oxfordshire is an affluent county with one of the best performing local economies in the UK.
Centred on the pre-eminent University of Oxford, the county enjoys a robust knowledge economy, a strong research and development sector and a significant manufacturing and automotive presence.
Oxfordshire also possesses an enviable combination of an ancient and world-famous University city at its heart surrounded by an eclectic mix of riverside market towns, and picturesque villages in the Chiltern Hills and Cotswolds in the West.
Combined with well-regarded state and private primary and secondary schools, the county enjoys a broad appeal to families and offers a choice of city and rural lifestyles to suit many tastes.
While the prevailing conditions described above make it hard to paint a clear picture, the unique characteristics of the local property market endure.
Additionally, the area attracts a higher number of cash buyers than the national average, and the tentative signs of broader market confidence nationally and unique local conditions means we expect prime properties will continue to transact well and local demand will remain strong.
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