Confidence in the housing market is leading to an increase in positive selling sentiment, according to the latest quarterly Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker.
The tracker indicates that of those surveyed, 56% feel that it will be a good time to sell in the next 12 months, exceeding those who think it will be a bad time. This is the highest score of this measure since the survey's inception in April 2011, making a net balance of +24 compared with +12 in Q4 2013 and -6 in Q3 2013. Sentiment towards selling is even stronger amongst owner occupiers with 62% stating that now is a good time to sell.
Regionally, positive sentiment towards selling is highest in the East and South East, where 65% think it will be a good time to sell, compared with only 36% who say this in Scotland.
Craig McKinlay, Mortgages Director at Halifax, commented:
"We've seen a strong start to the year with transaction volumes rising, with the overall sentiment regarding the outlook for the housing market continuing to improve. The increase in optimism is partly due to stronger house prices and this shift could provide a much needed increase in the supply of properties available for sale during the rest of the year."
Is now the right time to buy?
Coinciding with the Chancellor's 2014 Budget announcement, the findings of the survey indicate that sentiment towards buying remained relatively stable since Q4 2013, with 60% of respondents expecting it to be a good time to buy in the next 12 months compared with 26% who think it will be a bad time to buy (net balance of +34). Respondents in Wales were the most optimistic about buying with a balance of +62, an increase from +31 three months ago. The difference between those thinking that it will be a good time to buy rather than a bad time is the lowest in London, at +4, a drop from +18 in Q4 2013.
House price expectations
Nearly three-quarters of British adults (71%) predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year; with 38% expecting it to rise between 5% and 15%, and 3% who think the rise will be even higher. The headline House Price Outlook balance (i.e. the difference between the proportion of people across Britain that expect the average house price to rise rather than fall) remained relatively stable at +65 (compared with +66 in Q4 2013).
Headline House Price Outlook (HPO) Net Balance by Region
Net balance (HPO) of the % of respondents that expect the average UK house price to rise over the next 12 months compared to those that expect house prices to fall.
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