Rightmove expects better year for UK housing market amid 2% customer growth

The property portal said sales agreed between January and April are 17% up on last year, despite persistently high mortgage rates.

Alex Daniel
Friday 10 May 2024 10:57 BST
Rightmove said house prices were growing 1.7% annually (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
Rightmove said house prices were growing 1.7% annually (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire) (PA Wire)

Rightmove is expecting improvements in the UK property market this year, forecasting that its customer numbers will grow slightly compared to 2023.

The UK’s largest property portal said it expects the number of customers to increase by 2% year-on-year, compared to an earlier forecast of a “slight decrease”.

It said that while ongoing high mortgage rates and long completion times on transactions continue to weigh on the market, customers are “now increasingly looking to transact”.

Sales agreed between January and April are 17% higher than the same period last year, it said, with 1.1 million sales forecast to take place over 2024.

The company said its house price index indicates annual house price growth of 1.7%, the highest for 12 months.

Rightmove released the data as part of a trading update on Friday ahead of its annual shareholder meeting.

The statistics appear to support analysis by Halifax earlier this week, which suggested house hunters are adapting to a radically different market to that of a few years ago.

On Wednesday, Amanda Bryden, head of mortgages at Halifax, said the housing market was “finding its feet in an era of higher interest rates”.

Rates are unlikely to improve in the near future, after the Bank of England yesterday decided to maintain the base interest rate at 5.25% for at least another month, its highest point since 2008.

Nonetheless, Rightmove said it is also seeing increased activity in the rental market, which remains “very busy”.

The London-listed company said it had seen an 18% increase in listings availability in the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

And average rents were 7.6% higher than the same period in 2023.

Johan Svanstrom, Rightmove chief executive, said: “Overall, we continue to expect a better year for the UK property market in 2024 than in 2023.

“Within that, we see different dynamics across the many segments that we serve, with particular strength in resales.”

On its own financials, Rightmove cut its forecast for the average revenue per advertiser (Arpa), a key metric.

Rightmove’s Arpa growth forecast fell to £75-85, down from £100-110. The update sent its shares 4.8% lower in morning trading.

The company kept its annual revenue and profit expectations unchanged.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in