Confidence in housing market surges
Confidence in the housing market among homeowners has soared to its highest level in three years, a property search website has reported.
Almost three-quarters of homeowners (74%) expect house prices in their area to rise by September, with the predicted increase averaging 4.5%, in further evidence that the market is starting to "turn a corner", Zoopla said.
Both the proportion of people forecasting house price increase and the typical size of the anticipated increase are the highest figures recorded in around three years by the quarterly study, which began in 2009.
But confidence varied widely, and in stark contrast to the rest of the UK, no one surveyed in Northern Ireland predicted that prices will increase in their area by the end of the summer.
One third of homeowners living in Northern Ireland said that prices will be flat over the coming months and two-thirds predict falls. House prices in Northern Ireland have been declining sharply since the economic downturn, following a period of strong increases. Zoopla said that confidence in Northern Ireland has consistently been well below the rest of the UK for more than a year.
Homeowners in London, where the market has stood up relatively strongly amid high levels of interest from overseas buyers, were the most bullish. Nine out of 10 (89%) people in the capital expect prices to rise by the end of the summer. Only one in 25 Londoners expects to see prices fall.
Confidence tended to be concentrated in southern England. It was higher than average in the South West, the South East and the East of England. Meanwhile, it was below average in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and the North East, as well as in Wales and Scotland.
Zoopla said that across the country, there has been a strong uplift in housing market confidence since the start of 2013, with just 65% of homeowners predicting increases over the coming months at the end of last year. Only 13% of home owners now expect prices to fall over the coming months, compared with 19% in December. More than 4,000 people took part in the survey last month.
The website put some of the recent boost down to a package of measures announced by the Government in last month's Budget designed to give more people with small deposits a helping hand.
Lawrence Hall, spokesman for Zoopla.co.uk, said: "With first-time buyer lending gradually increasing and mortgages becoming more readily available, there is real belief that the property market is starting to turn a corner and finally drag itself out of the hole since the financial crisis."
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