Record levels of activity in housing market: Lawrence Hall, Zoopla Property Group
Three weeks into the year and we're hearing positive reports from sales, lettings agents and developers across the country.
The market appears to have had a good start to the year and this is backed up by our own record levels of activity in January.
Continuing this positive trend, home-owner confidence has re-bounded strongly from one year ago, with a significant majority now expecting to see house price increases over the first half of the year.
While we are not yet back to the levels of post credit-crunch optimism seen in late 2009, the increased confidence may bode well for both market activity and pricing in 2013.
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The single biggest drag on both confidence and the market overall is still the availability or lack thereof of financing.
Home-owners are far more confident now than at this time last year about the future of the UK property market. Almost two-thirds, 65 per cent, of property owners think that house prices will rise over the next six months. This is up from only 55 per cent one year ago. And less than one in five, 19 per cent, of those surveyed expect house prices to fall during the first half of 2013, compared to 29 per cent one year ago.
These are the latest findings from the most recent Housing Market Sentiment Survey conducted by Zoopla.co.uk and revealed that homeowners expect UK property prices to rise by 3.2 per cent on average over the next six months. In the South West, this figure is 3.6 per cent. With the average UK property valued at £226,908 by Zoopla.co.uk that represents a predicted increase of £7,261 on the value of the average home over the first half of 2013.
However, home-owners remain downbeat about the availability of mortgages and on the whole see little sign of improvement in lending conditions. In a reflection of the continued difficulties facing first-time buyers, 85 per cent of respondents said it was no easier now to get a mortgage than three months ago, with only 15 per cent reporting that they though lending conditions had eased.