Q1 Property Market Review: Rain, politics and city interest!

With many predicting a general election and possible change of government later this year, 2024 started with some unanswered questions across the UK’s property market.

Would buyers wish to proceed with transactions amid political uncertainty? With an election expected between October and December, will sellers keep their powder dry until then - or perhaps even later?

What’s evident since January 1 is the areas of concern among property experts hasn’t yet materialised into reality – particularly in Oxfordshire.

Ahead of the Easter break, we reflect on a mostly strong start to the new year for the region’s property market and consider the likely trends of Q2 and into Q3.

Wet, wet, wet!

Not a day has passed, or at least it feels like it, without rainfall between New Year’s Day celebrations and today.

And the impact that has on Oxfordshire’s property market in Q1 might be bigger than you assume – especially in rural areas. It’s been damp, grey, and generally quite miserable – not ideal then for showcasing your property at its best when spring is only around the corner.

The coming months typically present a busier market as houses show far better when the weather is onside, and we’re expecting that to be the case again this year.

City thriving

It could be linked to the above, but we’ve marked a noticeable trend of clients interested in properties listed both on and off-market inside Oxford’s ring road.

It’s here where the bulk of our work has taken place in Q1, which is a trend that isn’t especially seasonal and is new to our operation from previous years.

The city brings a lot of employment and connectivity to London, the midlands and south-west. But that has always been the case so isn’t the reason behind this shift.

Perhaps the closure of the Botley Road has impacted people’s ability to live in the west of the county when they require access to the city. And flooding on the Abingdon Road could be a factor too. We’ll never know for sure what has caused this shift, but the buying trend in Q1 has definitely been a move from country to city.

Politics and housing – and timing

As we touched on at the start of the blog, the concern at the beginning of the year was the possibility of change and turbulence in the market prompted by a general election.

Uncertainty creates nervousness and opportunity in equal measure, but buyers are naturally more reserved until there is greater political clarity. As a buying agent, we tend to see Oxfordshire’s housing market switch off through July and August – with transactions and interest returning to normal in September.

The question is will we see transactions return to a normal level in September this year, given it’s most likely an election will be held between October and December? Right now, we’d suggest it’s unlikely.

And for this reason, spring is the time to buy.

At the time of writing, we’re aware of dozens of off-market properties available to purchase in Oxfordshire, both in rural and urban locations. Interest at the higher end of the market – where we carry out most of our work – hasn’t dipped and properties listed on the market are subject to lots of activity and interest.

It makes buying off-market, where possible, a key strategic consideration to help position you as a person genuinely interested in proceeding and to secure a property at the right price.

In other news

The budget at the beginning of March prompted no major change to the UK’s property market.

However, the higher rate of Capital Gains Tax on residential properties was cut from 28% to 24% - which will prompt some stock to come back onto the market in time. Interest rates were also held at 5.25% this month. It’s now a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ regarding the first drop from this rate which has been in place since August last year.

Get in touch!

Spring is the time to buy!

And if you’re interested in purchasing a property in or around Oxfordshire in the coming months, drop our friendly team a message today via 01865 553956.

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