Housing market ‘ready for take-off’

Confidence is highest in the south-east of England, with Scotland eighth out of 11 nations and regions. Picture: Stuart Cobley
Confidence is highest in the south-east of England, with Scotland eighth out of 11 nations and regions. Picture: Stuart Cobley
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MORE house sellers could be encouraged to put their properties on the market in the coming months, amid strong expectations that prices will continue to push upwards, research has suggested.

A survey by Halifax found consumer confidence that the next year will be a good time to sell a property has reached its strongest levels in at least four years.

In Scotland, 51 per cent of those asked said they thought it is a good time to sell a home. Across the UK, 59 per cent believe it is a good time to sell, while only 26 per cent think it is not.

The overall net balance of 33 per cent more people who think it is a good time to sell rather than a bad time is the highest recorded since the survey started in April 2011.

The research could help to address some concerns raised in recent months about a lack of homes on the market for buyers to choose from.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recently said it had been seeing signs of a “worrying” upward pressure on house prices as a result.

But even if the supply of homes for sale and the demand from buyers is brought into better balance, consumers still expect house prices to continue on an upward march.

Some 67 per cent of people surveyed by Halifax expect UK house prices to increase over the next 12 months, while 3 per cent expect them to fall. The overall balance of 64 per cent is the highest recorded since July 2014.

House price expectations for the coming year were strongest in the south-east of England, which is feeling the ripple effect of buyers looking for value in commuter belt areas situated outside London, and at their weakest in Wales.

The main barriers perceived to be standing in the way of home ownership were the ability to raise a deposit and concerns about job security. Only 12 per cent mentioned concerns about interest rate rises as a barrier to home ownership, down from 15 per cent a year ago.

Nearly 2,000 people took part in the survey.

Net percentage balances of people who expect house prices to increase rather than decrease over the next 12 months, according to Halifax:

• South East - 79%

• Eastern - 75%

• London - 69%

• Yorkshire and the Humber - 66%

• North East - 64%

• South West - 63%

• West Midlands - 57%

• Scotland - 51%

• North West - 50%

• East Midlands - 49%

• Wales - 40%