A leading Worcestershire estate agent has dubbed 2024 the year in which there is a "return to a new normal" for the housing market.

Matt Nicol, managing director of Nicol & Co, suggests this shift is largely due to stabilising interest rates and a drop in inflation which he believes will cause some optimism for the year ahead.

Mr Nicol speaks specifically of the five-year SWAP rates, which represent changing mortgage costs, stating they are at their "lowest level since last May".

This shift came as a response to ongoing Bank of England decisions to keep the base rate at 5.25%.

Generally, this drop in the financial index alongside decreased inflation incites broader confidence for the residential market.

Mr Nicol said: "Our experience in 2023 may sound clichéd, but it was certainly a game of two halves, with the second half seeing the market responding and behaving in line with averages seen pre-Covid.

“Interest rates, through mortgage affordability, are a key determinant for the residential market outlook.

“Both SWAP rates and the recently announced sharp drop in inflation are now backing up the sense that interest rates have peaked, so we are looking forward to 2024 with a degree of optimism.

He added: “An improvement in sentiment should be evident from spring 2024, which means the year ahead is really looking like a return to a ‘new normal’.

“The conditions are good and likely to get better for buyers with more stock on the market to choose from and increasingly affordable mortgage solutions becoming available.”

The agent's market update revealed a broad increase in sale prices across Worcestershire.

Malvern’s overall average transaction value remained at £307,849, whereas both Droitwich and Worcester saw increases of 2 per cent and 3 per cent, bringing their totals to £286,548 and £254,220 respectively.

Bucks to the trend, the average monthly rent for homes across the county saw an increase of 8%, with flats averaging £701 per month and houses peaking at £987.

The cheapest option for renters is Droitwich at an average of £727 per month, followed by Worcester at £824 and Malvern at £875.