An estimated 50% of UK adults are expecting further increases to house prices in the next 12 months, according to the Building Societies Association’s (BSA) latest property tracker survey.
This is up from 25% in December, and is in contrast to this time last year, when 45% of people thought prices would fall, according to the BSA.
About a third of people (30%) think now is a good time to buy a property, less than the 37% of people who thought so in March, which is likely to be a reflection of the approaching end to the stamp duty holiday, which starts to taper down from the end of this month.
Of those who are likely to be moving or buying their first home in the next six months, 73% said outdoor space is their number one priority and 62% cited getting away from built up areas and closer to nature.
However, one of the biggest changes in priorities was the number who are considering a move to reduce their mortgage payments, with 51% citing this as a priority compared to 37% in December.
For the first time in nine months, raising a deposit returned as the biggest barrier to buying a property (59%).
During the pandemic, lack of job security became the greatest concern, but this has steadily declined to 45%, from 68% in September 2020.
However, the BSA noted that this is still a considerable number of people who do not feel confident about their long-term employment prospects.
With this in mind, the BSA has called on the government to reduce the wait time for the DWP Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan.
Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the BSA, said: “These latest results are an encouraging sign that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to fade for many, as confidence in the housing market remains strong.
“There’s no doubt that the government support measures introduced over the last 12 months, such as the stamp duty holiday, have been key drivers of the confidence we see.
“It does however appear that the market will remain buoyant as these incentives come to an end.
“Whilst the Nationwide Building Society House Price Index reports house price growth of over 11% in the last 12 months, and our research showing 50% of the public think further price rises are likely in the coming 12 months, it’s not surprising that raising a deposit has returned as the biggest challenge for those wanting to get on the property ladder.
“It’s therefore good to see that in addition to a number of societies supporting the government’s First Homes initiative, many have also re-introduced low deposit mortgages as part of their standard mortgage range.
“Amongst all the positive signs in the housing market, it’s important to note that almost half of the respondents have concerns around their job security.
“Whilst this is a declining trend, it remains clear that there are many people for whom the pandemic continues to have a negative financial impact and it’s important both for lenders and government to ensure that appropriate safety nets are available to give households the support they need, when they need it.”