House price confidence plummets over mortgage crisis

Sarah Davidson

October 5, 2010

The survey shows that only 63% of homeowners now expect property prices to rise over the next six months, compared to 78% of homeowners three months ago, showing a staggering decline in confidence in the housing market.

According to the survey of 6,149 homeowners by property website Zoopla.co.uk, which combines property search with property research, the average growth predicted for house prices in the next six months has also dropped to only 3% from 5.5% three months ago.

And the number of respondents who expect property prices to fall over the coming six months is up sharply to one in four (25%) from one in ten (11%) only three months ago.

The survey results reaffirm that homeowners in the UK view their home as their castle. Whilst 25% of those surveyed said they expect house prices in their local area to fall over the next six months, only 21% expect the value of their own home to fall over the same period.

And whilst the average rise in values was predicted as 3% for the local neighbourhood, homeowners surveyed expect their own homes to rise by 3.4% on average indicating that they expect their own home to perform 13% better than their neighbours.

The survey also shows that the severe shortage in the availability of mortgage finance is having a detrimental effect on the health of the property market and consumer confidence with nine out of 10 respondents (89%) stating that it is now no easier to get financing than it was three months ago.

Across the UK, the Scots remain the most upbeat with 71% expecting house prices in their area to rise over the next six months, but this is down from 84% three months ago.

In England optimism has fallen the hardest with 62% predicting a house prices rise compared to 79% three month ago. And the Welsh are the most pessimistic on the chances of local property prices rising in the next six months with only 61% of Welsh homeowners predicting an increase versus 73% three months ago.

Nicholas Leeming, commercial director of Zoopla, said: “The ongoing mortgage drought has started to have a real impact on consumer confidence, with optimism about the outlook for the housing market dropping sharply.

“The shortage of funding on offer is preventing many people who do want to buy from being able to purchase a home, particularly first time buyers. Increasing activity levels is vital for the health of the property market, and the wider economy in turn, and the banks must pull out all the stops to increase lending.”

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