Upbeat Scots think now’s a good time to buy a home

People in Scotland and the north-east of England were the most confident. Picture: TSPL
People in Scotland and the north-east of England were the most confident. Picture: TSPL
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SCOTS are the most confident people in Britain about buying property, says a consumer poll.

The finding comes despite research showing confidence across Britain has plunged amid growing fears over spiralling property prices and the prospect of interest rates rising.

Figures revealed by Halifax’s quarterly Housing Market Confidence tracker show the UK net balance of people who believe the coming year is a good, rather than a bad, time to buy a house has dropped drastically from 34 per cent in the first three months of 2014 to just 5 per cent in the second quarter of this year, the lowest total since the series began in April 2011.

London and the south east of England were identified as the places where people were most likely to feel negative about buying a property in the next 12 months, with a balance of minus 19 per cent and minus 24 respectively showing caution.

However, people who think the coming months will be a good time to buy tended to be concentrated in places where house prices have risen at a more modest pace over the last year. North of the Border a balance of 31 per cent of people think the next 12 months will be a good rather than a bad time to purchase a property.

People in England’s north east, along with the Scots, had a positive attitude, with 29 per cent thinking it was a good time to buy. In the north east the figure was 29 per cent, in the south west it was 28 per cent and in Wales, 25 per cent. The report found a “sharp rise” in the number of people who said rising prices were a barrier to buying, with 35 per cent of people saying this compared with 20 per cent a year ago.

Concerns about the possibility of interest rates rising are also increasing, with 18 per cent of people citing this as a factor, up from 13 per cent last year.

Speculation has been mounting about when the Bank of England base rate, which has been held at a historic 0.5 per cent low for more than five years, will rise as the economy improves.

Raising a deposit remains the biggest perceived barrier to buying a home, with this hurdle mentioned by 55 per cent.

As feelings about buying a home have become more negative, confidence that the coming months are a good time to sell a property has never been higher, Halifax found in the survey.

An overall 25 per cent of people believed the next 12 months would be a good time to sell a property rather than a bad time.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said of this month’s survey of almost 2,000 people: “Over the past two years consumer confidence has continued to grow, however it appears that we’ve reached a tipping point, with the equilibrium between buyers and sellers much more out of sync.

“The results highlight the regional variations as now people believe that it’s a good time to sell but not buy, particularly in London and the south east, where house price expectations are generally higher and buyers appear to be less inclined to rush into buying a property.”