OPINION: House Prices. Where’s that crash?

Russell Quirk (right) being interviewed on GB News

Repeat after me in a whiney little voice: 

“House prices will drop by 30% in 2023”

“What goes up must come down and the property market is going to correct sharply”

“Don’t buy a house for at least 12 months. Wait for prices to drop”

“Crash, crash, crash – this is the sound of house values next year”

“It’s not a question of if prices will drop it’s by how much

Unless you are a blind goldfish you will recall these mantras being wheeled out by certain ‘experts’ in the last quarter of 2022 – just a month or two ago – all desperate to be right and no doubt born of some personal political agenda or other. Much of this hogwash was then translated into newspaper headlines and news-reader scripts that set out the direction of travel for a housing market that they said was now ‘embattled’ and with no chance of finding decent health in 2023. A constant three month narrative amongst the chattering classes that said we will absolutely, definitely, most certainly see an inevitable meltdown. There was simply no way that it wasn’t going to happen.

So much so that if you Google “house price crash 2023 UK” 96 million results pop up. The doomsters and their half-empty glasses have indeed been busy.    

I remember a similar scenario in early 2020 when the same experts predicted a bricks and mortar Armageddon due to the inevitable hardship we’d all face from the pandemic and from the resulting lockdowns.

I also remember them trotting out the same lazy, ill-thought, opportunistic rubbish in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as we considered whether to Brexit or not. And then again when the threat of a ‘No deal Brexit’ was hung over our heads in 2018 and 2019.

So far, the doom-mongers have scored no points in this game in nearly ten years whereas brave pundits like myself (actually just me) have stated with logic and careful contemplation that in all of these scenarios house prices would not drop like the veritable stone. I even won some bets off the back of my positive predictions.

My view as frequently posted on social media and as stated in countless telly and radio appearances for TalkTV, GB News, LBC and the BBC was that prices, whilst they move around a bit and we’ll always see dips here and there, ‘would not end up lower 12 months hence’. I said this in 2015 and then every year until now. And I’m still saying it. 

But what of now? Surely this time it’s different? We’re bound to see values drop due to the clumsy Kwarteng Budget triggering wholesale money cost rises coupled with a mad bloke in the Kremlin causing gas and electricity costs to skyrocket. Aren’t we? All whilst a Bank of England that’s been caught on the hop (you had just one job) hikes interest rates ever higher in order to mitigate the inflation that it itself contributed to by printing too much money and by not tweaking rates six months before it actually did. A woeful performance if ever there was.

Well no. I’m afraid that prophecies of the disintegration of UK property values have been rather overdone. Again.

As I write this, Rightmove has just published its January HPI which shows that asking prices have risen by 0.9% since last month. Yes, this is asking prices rather than sold prices but this is off the back of a 2.1% drop in December and a 1.1% drop in November and shows consumer sentiment quickly returning to positivity. 

Halifax and Nationwide too had recorded a weakening of monthly prices in Q4. Nationwide’s analysis trends downwards by 5.1% since September and the Halifax HPI has eased by 4.3% in the same period.

But it’s my belief that much of this effect is a consequence of a startled public brought about by a ravenous media that has sought to scare us all as much as it could. Bad news gets more clicks, you see. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby exaggerated headlines put buyers off of buying. This demand hesitance has then translated into lower prices via spooked sellers.

However, this angst will be short-lived.

Why do I think that? Pay attention – because the latest economic numbers look better. Much better.

Fixed rate mortgage rates are plummeting as Gilt yields have fallen through the floor. Unemployment remains ultra low. Wholesale gas prices have all but returned to pre-Ukraine invasion levels. Electricity bills will now fall. Therefore inflation has probably peaked. Which means there is less reason for the clowns in Threadneedle Street to squeeze us much further on the day to day Bank rate.  

Ladies and gentlemen, the pressure is subsiding and soon it will be time to start your engines once again after this minor interruption to normal service. 

And to those that continue to lament the housing market and to try to do everything they can to diss it – I’m sorry but once again you have failed. 

Better luck next time.  I’m sure you’ll keep trying though – as all failures should.   

Russell Quirk is Co-Founder of ProperPR the property industry public relations agency, and is a regular commentator for national media on the housing market 



Email the story to a friend


  1. PaulC

    I can’t see prices going anywhere but down in the first half.

    Stock is increasing, stock on the market is over priced (especially if still on the market from before October)

    Agents need to be actively reviewing the price points and making sure the price is correctly framed.

    Sales agreed are very low in every area I check. So less buyer demand appears to be there.

    Sharp increase in valuation request from buyers who are concerned about being able to afford the mortgage when their current mortgage deal expires.

    Redundancies in the economy increasing (thankfully labour market is tight)

    Business owners concerned about cost increases both raw materials and labour costs. In many industries making in simply not viable to continue. Hospitality being hit hard in coming months.

    House prices coming down in the long term won’t be bad thing. The rapid growth since lockdown made it very easy for less skilled agents to prosper and take a wild west approach to valuation advice.

    I think we will see reduced volumes maybe 800-900k sales in 2023

    I think we will see a fair number of branches close.

    I think we will see the market bottom in the second half of the year and then no doubt resume to growth thereafter. Probably following the inevitable reduction in base rate as inflation hopefully come back under control.

    Personally we are battening down the hatches, have closed s few branches and are trying to figure out how to give the staff a reasonable pay rise in April. A problem that seems somewhat difficult to solve right now.





  2. Ric

    If prices rise – we had completed sales to show the rise. (I will be Thankful)

    If prices stay the same – we had completed sales to show the hold. (I will be Thankful)

    If prices drop – we had completed sales to prove the drop. (I will be thankful)

    If we don’t know because nobody wants to sell or buy, we might have 3 to 6 months of pain, but at some point, people will get bored of waiting and sellers will deal at what they can afford to as will buyers.

    For what it’s worth (and it ain’t much from me) prices will show a drop… almost guaranteed (Sorry Russell) but this is simply because Best & Final Bids & Sealed Bids are no longer… so the inflated sale prices which were added in Q3 & Q4 of 2021 and Q1 & Q2 of 2022 will be forgotten by the sensible sellers and buyers as Russell points out will come to terms with higher but more stable mortgage rates.

    Most sellers I meet already comment on “we know that was crazy and don’t expect that” so the stock coming to the market is already contributing to a drop which when recorded will have some commentators in danger of getting blisters on their palms.

    One thing is for sure, if my entire stock sells at 20% less, I will still collect higher fees than 2021 & 2022, as one thing this wobble has done, is reset the clock for “any ******** can sell a property”.

  3. Charlie Lamdin

    IF a crash has started, we wont see it until the official figures for Jan are reported. So even if there is one we won’t know it yet.

    But if you know how averages work, there are many reasons why RM’s average asking price may be higher, for example, an increase in higher valued properties coming onto the market, and not selling.

    But, rates aren’t ‘plummeting’ by any measure. And the christmas sales ‘bounce’ was deceptive. We bought less stuff, it just cost more, and we took out more credit card borrowing than any time since 2004 to afford to buy it. We didn’t even keep up with inflation.

    Falling wholesale energy prices is the only real good economic news out there, but the benefit wont reach the consumer for some time.

    And we have tax rises for everyone starting in April.

    Can’t see the good news – am looking though.


    1. Shaun Adams

      Charlie, last Autumn you said prices would collapse in 2022. Did they?

  4. UKisgreat

    Prices are correcting but this is against the backdrop of a frenzied market of  late 20, all of 21 early 22. Buyers were paying crazy prices for some of my rural stock, there is no way they will achieve those prices now, but it matters not, as by the time these buyers want to sell the market will have caught up. There have been small dips in the market the odd years here and there, even the ‘big drop’ in 08/09 was small overall  but the bigger picture since mid 90’s is one of huge growth over what is a relatively short time period. The correction this year will be a nothing more, a correction, a blip, then prices will continue on an upward trajectory until the next big mountain to climb. Maybe Fred Harrison will; be correct again….2026?

  5. Ash2108

    So much so that if you Google “house price crash 2023 UK” 96 million results pop up. The doomsters and their half-empty glasses have indeed been busy.”

    If you google “house price boom 2023 UK” you get 1.7 billion results. This is a terrible way to gauge sentiment.

  6. Richard Copus

    I don’t think anybody ever quoted a 30% drop for 2023.  It would require a world war or something just as bad to trigger such a market panic.  It was meant to be over the period of a few years, as happened in the early 1990s.  Everything depends on how the economy and international events pan out over the next year or so.

  7. Shaun Adams

    The trouble is telling the truth doesn’t make headlines, making up **** and blowing things out of all proportion makes headlines and more YouTube reviews.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.