Reflecting on 2023 and Embracing Opportunities in the 2024 Property Market in Reading and Berkshire

As we close the chapter on 2023, a year that has been marked by considerable change and adaptability, the property market in Reading and the broader Berkshire area has navigated through a mix of challenges and opportunities.

The sales market has witnessed fluctuations, while the lettings market faced significant regulatory shifts. Uncertainty over government plans for the Private Rented Sector, notably the introduction of the controversial Renters Reform Bill to parliament in May, has cast a shadow of confusion over the industry. The subsequent pause in September on plans to introduce tougher Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for rented homes left many landlords in a difficult position. Some had already invested heavily in property upgrades, while others, daunted by the anticipated costs, chose to exit the market. Furthermore, the reduction in capital gains tax (CGT) allowances from April 2023, which more than halved from £12,300 to £6,000, and the planned further reduction to £3,000 from April 2024, have heightened the financial implications for landlords contemplating property sales. These regulatory changes and financial adjustments have significantly influenced both the sales and lettings markets, shaping the decisions of buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants alike.

Throughout 2023, the property market experienced:

  • Rising Mortgage Rates and Living Costs: Increased mortgage rates placed additional financial burdens on homeowners, intensifying financial risks, particularly for households with substantial mortgage debts.
  • Mortgage Lending Trends: The growth in mortgage lending slowed to its lowest since 2011, a reflection of escalating living costs, reversing the trends seen during the pandemic.
  • Fixed-Rate Mortgage Renewals: Many households grappled with the prospect of higher interest rates upon renewing fixed-rate mortgages, with the majority previously secured at rates below 2%.
  • Record Bank Rate: In August, the Bank Rate hit a 15-year peak of 5.25%, influenced by persistent inflation and leading to heightened market expectations.
  • Inflation Surge: A dramatic increase in inflation, from 0.4% to 11.1%, necessitated consecutive interest rate hikes by the Bank of England.
  • Mortgage Rate Variations: The disparity between the average two-year fixed mortgage rate and the Standard Variable Rate (SVR) highlighted significant potential savings for homeowners.

Despite these financial milestones impacting decision-making for buyers and sellers alike, the emergence of attractive mortgage deals in recent months heralds a more positive outlook for 2024, particularly for those with substantial down payments. For expert mortgage advice, consult our WhiteKnights Mortgage Specialists here.

2023: A Year in Review for the Sales Market in Reading, Berkshire (December 2023):

  • Current Homes for Sale: 1,205
  • Average Asking Price: £458,098
  • New Market Entries: 114 new listings in the past 14 days

National Sales and Lettings Market:

  • The national average house price stood at £406,142 in December 2022, reflecting a modest growth since 2021. 
  • The sales market witnessed a significant uptick in activity between May and June 2023, amidst varied price trends across property types.
  • In the lettings market, rental prices continued an upward trajectory, with Reading's average rent reaching £2,052 pcm by October 2023.

Reading Rental Market (December 2023): 

  • Current Homes for Rent: 625
  • Average Rent: £1,793 pcm
  • New Listings: 140 in the past 14 days
  • Market Adjustments: Notable price adjustments, particularly for newly listed properties aligning with standard pricing.

Outlook for 2024:

As we step into 2024, the property market, especially in sales, is poised for an exciting start. The post-Boxing Day period has historically been a catalyst for increased property activity, a trend we anticipate will continue. This period is not just a national phenomenon but is especially significant in Reading and Berkshire. The early months of 2024 are expected to witness a surge in demand, presenting ideal opportunities for both buyers and sellers.

At WhiteKnights, we are committed to guiding you through the nuances of the local property market. Whether you are planning to sell, buy, or rent, our experienced team is here to assist you in realising your property goals.

Let 2024 be the year of successful property transitions and new beginnings. Reach out to discuss your plans and discover how we can support your journey in the property market.



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