Three fifths believe it’s a buyer’s market

Yuan Phoon

January 30, 2012

Two thirds of consumers surveyed said property prices will be the same or higher in 12 months’ time, up from 62% a year ago.

Just 13% believed it was a sellers’ market.

However Rightmove said deeper analysis showed that both findings masked significant regional and local variations which provided further evidence of an acute north-south divide and a property market pock-marked with localised micro-markets.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “Our survey shows that sellers in the south should have more reason to be confident than those in the north, though even within regions there is evidence of variations in confidence in localised micro-markets.

“In these micro-markets, the combined impact of demographics, employment and mix of stock go a long way to determining the local market confidence and, in turn, market performance.

“On the surface it looks as though potential homemovers are feeling a bit more positive about the outlook for property prices.”

However Shipside added that hidden beneath was the real story that different market segments performed very differently and that in all probability price predictions would depend on the local micro-market.

He said: “While parts of the stock-starved south, and London in particular, are feeling relatively bullish about prices, the turmoil of the last few years has wreaked havoc in parts of the buyer-blocked north.

“There is a clear north-south divide in both house price expectations and an even more acute contrast of opinion in where the balance of power lies.”

When asked to state their reasons for their respective outlooks, concerns over mortgage availability and employment were the main concern for over seven out of 10 “price pessimists”.

The shortage of property for sale leading to upwards price pressure is the view of nearly half of the “price optimists”.

Matt James, head of consumer insight at Rightmove, said: “Over the course of the next year, the fortunes of buyers and sellers are likely to be defined by the highly-localised performance of their micro-market.”

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