For the first time since Halifax’s regular housing market confidence tracker began in April 2011, the proportion of consumers who predict the next 12 months will be a good time to put a home on the market outweighed those who believe it will be a bad time.
Experts say signs that people are becoming more willing to sell could ease the upward pressure on house prices in the coming months by boosting the supply of homes on the market.
A net balance of 58 per cent of people in Scotland believed that prices will rise this year, compared to the UK average of 66 per cent. The figure comes from the percentage of people who expect the average UK house price to rise over the next 12 months compared to those that expect house prices to fall.
Some 51 per cent of nearly 2,000 people surveyed UK-wide said that this year will be a good time to sell, compared with 39 per cent who think it will be a bad time. The research was carried out between late November and early December 2013.
Sentiment towards buying also improved, with nearly two-thirds of those surveyed expecting 2014 will be a good time to buy, compared with 28 per cent thinking it will be a bad time.
Researchers found that people living in the north-east of England were the most optimistic about 2014 being a good time to buy. A net balance of 50 per cent of people living in the north-east believe it will be a good time to buy rather than a bad time. Meanwhile, those living in London were the least optimistic, with a balance of 18 per cent of people thinking this year is a good time to buy rather than a bad time.
At £396,646 on average, a property in London now costs more than four times one in the north-east, according to Land Registry figures for November.
Nearly three-quarters of British adults surveyed by Halifax predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year, up from 70 per cent in September. Only 6 per cent expect prices to fall, which is unchanged from September. One-third of people expect house prices to rise by up to 5 per cent over the next 12 months with one-quarter expecting an increase of 5-10 per cent.
The number of people expecting prices to rise outweighed those expecting a fall in every region across Britain. The strongest sentiment that house prices are set to increase was found in the south-east of England, where a net balance of 80 per cent of people expect to see house prices rise. The weakest sentiment was found in the West Midlands, where a balance of 43 per cent of people expecting increases rather than decreases.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “The recovery in the housing market during 2013 has resulted in a significant improvement in sentiment towards selling a property in recent months. This shift could provide a much-needed increase in the supply of properties during 2014, which would help to constrain upwards pressure on house prices.”