February Reading Property Market Update

In this blog we will be looking at:

  • ·     Interest rates: With rising interest rates and inflation high, what is happening in the Reading property market?
  • ·     Are properties selling in Reading? And if so, what is selling?
  • ·     What will happen to the value of your Reading home?

 As we enter February, the Reading (and British) property market is full of mixed messages.

Whilst the Bank of England increased the base rate nine times in 2022, meaning they are now at 3.5% (3% higher than 12 months ago), mortgage rates are now dropping.

The Reading property market rocketed over the last few years because of the imbalance of the number of properties for sale versus the demand, with many more people looking to move home than there were properties available.

Now, as we are over the first month of 2023, we are experiencing a steadier Reading housing market, where homebuyers have the time and opportunity to ensure they find the right home for them.

The days of 50 viewers per property on the first weekend of marketing, frenzied Reading buyers outbidding each other by increasing their offers by tens of thousands of pounds over the asking price has become the exception and not the norm.

The one big thing we have noticed is the imbalance of what is coming on the market for sale versus what is selling.

For example, 38.2% of properties that came on the market nationally in November and December 2022 had an asking price of £250,000 or less, yet 45.6% of the properties sold subject to contract since 1st January 2023 have been £250,000 or less.

That doesn't sound like a lot, yet it makes a massive difference to the property market.

However, it’s very easy to look at national averages, regional averages and, of course, Reading averages. Yet the property market is just one market nationally, as there isn't just one Reading property market.

However, the same pattern is seen in the higher-priced Reading properties. These higher-priced properties are selling more slowly than the lower-priced Reading properties. Therefore, the need for those larger Reading properties to be more realistic in price is paramount to stand out from the crowd, especially with the next point.

Evidence suggests there is a growth of Reading buyers, who are looking to find a home before putting theirs onto the market. This was unthinkable last year, yet as the Reading property market returns to normality, this will be seen more and more.

What are our thoughts?

Firstly, the time scale of how long it will take to sell a Reading home.

We expect to see the time it takes to sell a Reading home increase from 44 days in 2022 to a more 'normal' housing market of around 65 days.

Secondly, the imbalance of the Reading property market.

A greater number of larger homes in Reading are coming on the market because (as mentioned recently in a previous blog post) of the higher number of mature homeowners looking to downsize. This is because these larger homes have become much more expensive to heat, and as many of the occupants are on fixed incomes with their pensions, they are downsizing to cut costs.

Thirdly, that brings us to talk about energy efficiency.

Many buyers have started to ask about a property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. We recommend to Reading homeowners considering moving in the spring or summer to have an EPC done on their property now, as there may be points that could easily be rectified and improved from one EPC rating band to another.

This would mean you will get a lot more interest and a better price for your property. If you need any help or guidance in organising an EPC on your Reading property (even if you are not selling for six/twelve months), do not hesitate to get in contact here.

So, what is happening in the Reading property market in terms of new properties (aka new listings) and what is selling?

133 properties have sold (STC) in the Reading area since 1st January 2023.

(Reading being RG1/2/4).

However, it's essential to look at what is selling in Reading, and the most active price range is the £400k to £500k range, where 22 properties have been sold subject to contract (representing 16.5% of sales).

Looking at what is coming onto the market in the same time frame …

199 properties have come onto the market in the Reading area since 1st January 2023.

Interestingly, the price range with the most listings is the £400k to £500k range.

This means Reading is bucking the national trend (mentioned above) where nationally, the lower to middle property market is where the sales are, but the properties coming onto the market are slightly higher in price, yet it’s the same in Reading.

Any Reading homeowners with properties in price ranges that aren’t selling so well need to be ‘on point’ to stand out from the crowd regarding their marketing, be spot on regarding their pricing (compared to the growing competition of other larger homes for sale) and now more than ever, their EPC rating (especially if they are on the cusp between two EPC bands).

Before we conclude, you might wonder why we haven't mentioned Reading house prices.

We know the prices being achieved for homes in Reading in the spring of 2022 (when everyone was out bidding each other) are not being achieved today. It all depends how you look at it.

Are Reading house prices dropping or are they just returning to normal? We would say the latter.

However, looking at house prices as a ‘bellwether’ for the health of the Reading property market has flaws.

Many economists and property market commentators believe transaction numbers (the number of properties sold) give a more accurate and truthful indicator of the property market's health than just house values alone.

The reason is three-fold.

Firstly, most people also buy a home when they sell their own, so if Reading property values drop by 10% or rise by 10% on the one you are selling, it will do the same on the one you are buying - meaning to judge the health of a property market on house prices is very one dimensional.

Secondly, as most people move up market when they do move home, if the price of the one they’re selling might not be as much as they would've achieved in 2022 (if they drop), the price that they will pay on the one they want to buy will be lower. Thus, it will cost them less to move upmarket!

E.g. Last year, your Reading home was worth £400,000, and the one you wanted to buy would have been £750,000. Let’s say Reading house prices did drop 10% in 2023 ; your home would be only worth £360,000. Yet the one you want to buy would now be worth £675,000. So last year, it would have cost £350k to move, but if Reading house prices drop 10%, the move would cost £315k, saving you £35,000.

Third and finally, moving home is a human thing. Property habitually delivers a robust emotional connection with homeowners - a connection that few would attribute to their other investments like their stock market investments or building society savings passbook.

Moving home could be described as a human journey, moving from one chapter of one’s life to another.

Therefore, when people do move home, it shows they are moving forward in their lives, which gives a great indicator of the property market's health.

It’s going to be an interesting year for the 2023

Reading property market.

Our avo opinion? Do what is suitable for you, your family and your finances. 

Ignore the newspapers and look at the facts in hand and if you want a frank chat about the Reading property market, irrespective of whether you want to sell or not, call me. We might not tell you what you want to hear, but we will tell you what you need to hear.

If you have any questions about the content of this blog or would like a more specific update about your area in Reading, get in touch with your local Reading avocado partner here or pick your local agent from the list below and drop them a message.

Lauren & Ryan

Tilehurst & West Reading

Dan & Neil

Shinfield, Arborfield, Winnersh and Lower Earley

Georgina Patey

Woodley & Earley

Matt Barrell

Central & South Reading

Avocado Partner coming soon to...

Twyford, Charvil and Woodley Airfield