Max Turner from Savills reflects on how Suffolk’s new homes market has fared in 2023.

It’s certainly been a whirlwind 12 months in the property market. The rise in the cost of living and increase in interest rates has led to a well-documented slowdown of sales. However, there are tentative signs the market could start to pick up in the new year. 

Savills’ own research expects average house prices to fall by 4% by the end of 2023, which will leave values down a total of 7% since the autumn of 2022.

Less activity among buyers reliant on a mortgage – most notably buy-to-let investors – also means overall transactions are expected to be 20% down on last year. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Max Turner, who leads the new homes team at Savills SuffolkMax Turner, who leads the new homes team at Savills Suffolk (Image: RMG Photography)

However, with interest rates beginning to stabilise, there could be cause for cautious optimism as we head into 2024. 

Of course, it remains to be seen just what impact a potential general election could have on the housing market, but overall, demand for new homes remains remarkably robust. 

Needs-based buyers – downsizers or first-time buyers (FTBs), for example – continue to be particularly active.

A cash-rich, older group represented 40% of exchanges by Savills’ regional new homes teams in 2023, up from 29% for the whole of 2022.

Almost a quarter (24%) of exchanges by our new homes teams have been to FTBs – in line with the average since 2020. The number of downsizers meanwhile has increased to 15%, up from 10% for the whole of 2022. Typically these buyers are also committed to a move over the longer term – wanting to release equity to fund retirement or help family onto the housing ladder.

Many of these purchasers are attracted by the benefits of new-build properties such as lower maintenance costs and greater energy efficiency. The incentives offered by developers, including help with mortgage repayments and deposit contributions, are also proving popular. 

So, what does this all mean for those wanting to move in the new year? The market will likely remain price-sensitive, and we may well see average prices continue to fall in the short term, although not as much as this year. Less debt-dependent markets may also perform better.

Savills expects the number of overall property transactions to remain at around one million next year, still below a pre-pandemic norm of 1.2 million. But if affordability pressures start to ease and interest rates begin to stabilise – as expected by the end of 2024 – we may start to see a rise in buyer confidence.

If the last 12 to 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that we never quite know what’s around the corner, but new-build homes remain popular, and there is strong demand for correctly priced stock.

For advice on the new homes market in Suffolk, contact Max Turner on 07807 999746 or