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House price optimism on the up for 2013

Nia Williams

January 2, 2013

Nearly four in ten (38%) respondents predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year, whilst less than a fifth of respondents (18%) forecast a decline in prices.

The headline House Price Outlook balance – the difference between the proportion of people that expect house prices to rise rather than fall – stood at +20 in December. This is the highest reading since the survey began in April 2011, surpassing the previous high of +19 in March 2012.

Optimism has risen since the last survey in October when the House Price Outlook balance stood at +15.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “Conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months with little overall movement in either house prices or sales for the second consecutive year.

“This remarkable stability, given the poor domestic and overseas economic climate, has probably been a key driver of the improvement in sentiment regarding the outlook for house prices over the coming year.

“Ongoing concerns over job security and the challenges in raising a deposit are likely to constrain housing demand and activity next year. Accordingly, we expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013.”

Subdued activity

More than half the respondents (53%) think it will be a good time to buy in the next 12 months.

This is nearly four times the proportion feeling it will be a good time to sell (13%).

Fewer than one in ten (9%) think it will be a good time to both buy and sell over the coming months suggesting the level of housing market activity is likely to remain subdued in 2013.

More than half the respondents highlighted concerns about job security (58%) and the challenges in raising a deposit (55%) as the main barriers to buying a home.

The proportion highlighting concerns about job security is 7% higher than in October (51%). There has been a slight decline in respondents identifying the general availability of mortgages as a major hurdle to home buying from 31% in October to 29%.

Modest price changes predicted

Despite the overall improvement in sentiment, the majority think that any house price change over the next twelve months will be relatively small with just under two-thirds (64%) expecting any movement to be between +5% and -5%.

However more people expect house prices to rise than fall over the next 12 months in all regions. Those living in the South East are the most optimistic with an overall net balance of +27%, closely followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (+26%) and the West Midlands (+25%).

In contrast, those living in the East of England and Wales are the least optimistic about the outlook for house prices (both +11%). London has an overall net balance of +15%; the lowest score for the capital since October 2011.

Interestingly 16-24 year olds are the most optimistic regarding house prices with an overall net balance of +39. Those in the 55-64 year age bracket are the least positive (+9) followed by those aged 45-54 (+15).


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