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Homeowners who sold last year banked £102,000 profit on average, data shows

Years of strong price growth meant sellers in England and Wales netted hefty windfall despite fall in house prices

The Guardian - Monday, 22 January 2024

Homeowners in England and Wales who sold their property in 2023 netted an average profit of £102,000 despite house prices falling last year, according to new data.

The data, issued by estate agent Hamptons, shows that while 2023 was challenging for the UK property market, years of strong price growth meant those who sold a home last year typically banked a sizeable profit or had a decent sum to put towards their next purchase.


According to Nationwide building society, UK house prices fell by 1.8% during 2023, while the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday that typical UK property values fell by 2.1% in the year to November – the biggest annual fall since 2011.

Hamptons said its analysis of Land Registry data showed that the average household in England and Wales that bought a property within the last 20 years and sold it in 2023 made £102,650 – or 48% – more than they paid for it. That is the second highest figure on record. Overall, 93% of households sold their property for more than they paid for it, having owned for an average of just under nine years.

“These proceeds are mostly reinvested back into the housing market and go towards the purchase of another home, so they are rarely realised in cash terms. However, the numbers illustrate how the scale of historic price growth sheltered movers last year, freeing up cash to cover moving costs,” said Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons.


The figures also revealed a spike in the number of households selling up after just two years, About 8% of those who sold a home in 2023 had bought it in 2021, and these properties “were disproportionately likely” to be in the countryside, a small town or the suburbs. The 8% figure compares with 5% of 2022 sellers and 6% of 2019 sellers who bought two years previously, which may suggest that a chunk of those who relocated to the countryside, a smaller town or the coast during or after the pandemic later reversed their decision. 

Slower house price growth in the capital means sellers in Wales are now making bigger gains than Londoners in percentage terms. In 2023, the average home in Wales sold for 53% more than its purchase price, while in London the average was 51%.

Within weeks of the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, estate agents were reporting a surge in would-be homebuyers plotting a move out of the city to a rural area, smaller town or the coast – typically somewhere with a bigger garden, closer to open spaces or offering more room for working from home. This so-called “race for space” continued into 2021.

Research has previously indicated that some who bought during or just after the pandemic later suffered buyer’s remorse: a 2022 survey of those who moved during this period found that 12% believed they rushed into the decision and now regretted it, while a further 15% were not happy and were considering moving again.

Hamptons said its data showed that some pandemic movers had had “second thoughts”. “The spike in the share of households moving within two years … suggests an unwinding of ‘the race for space,’” said Beveridge. “Most of these sellers are selling larger homes in the country, often in favour of a move back to the suburbs or city.”


But there is always a silver lining. The researchers found that, despite small price falls over the last year, these households still typically made a profit. The average seller who bought in 2021 and sold in 2023 made £56,000 – or 23% – more than they initially paid.

Investment Synergy - constant reinvestment of profits is "feeding the market" and it´s a hungry animal.....


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