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After staying high and steady for the last year consumer confidence in the UK housing market has fallen to its lowest level in 12 months. According to the latest quarterly Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker, this dip mirrors a small fall in confidence over the outlook for the economy in the coming year. However the overall picture for house prices remains relatively robust as the difference between those who think it is a good time to buy and those who think it is a good time to sell has converged, which points to a period of fairly stable house prices. ‘In the last three years consumer confidence in the outlook for the housing market has increased significantly,’ said Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at the Halifax. ‘For the last year however, it seems to have reached a ceiling and, with speculation as the strength of the economy increasing in the last few months, confidence has fallen to its lowest level in 12 months,’ he explained. ‘However, the national figures mask big regional differences, and more than half of people in London, 55%, think the next 12 months will be a bad time to buy compared to compared to 37% of Britons overall,’ he added. A breakdown shows that regionally, those in London have the most positive outlook for the average UK property price, with 79% expecting a rise in compared to 68% overall. This is no doubt a contributing factor for London also being the only region where a greater proportion think it’ll be a bad time to buy, than those who think it’ll be a good time to buy at 55% and 33% respectively. This is the second consecutive quarter there has been a net negative figure for Londoners’ buying sentiment. The most frequently mentioned perceived barrier to buying is being able to raise enough deposit, with 57% saying this is an issue. However, this has fallen from the 63% who said this one year ago, in the third quarter of 2014. In the last three months, the proportion citing household finances as a barrier has risen eleven percentage points from 28% to 39%. Meanwhile, 19% mention concerns about interest rate rises as a barrier to buying. This is in line with the second quarter of 2014 when this figure was 18%, but higher than this time last year when it was 11%. Since the last quarter there has been a significant decrease in the proportion expecting the average UK property price to rise over the next 12 months, from 71% in the second quarter of 2014 to 68% in the third quarter. While the proportions expecting a small rise of up to 10% higher have remained stable, the proportion expecting an increase of 10% or more but less than 15% has fallen from 11% in the second quarter of the year to 9%. Continue reading →
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