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Most Brits confident about the UK property market, research finds

Over half said that concern over job security is a main obstacle to buying and Londoners are most optimistic about UK house prices, the survey also found.

Some 29% of Britons forecast that house prices across the UK will increase over the next twelve months, more than the 22% that predict a price decline over the same period. A large number, some 61%, also believe that house rents will increase over the next 12 months.

However, the outlook for the housing market remains subdued. The majority think that any house price movement over the next twelve months will be relatively small with around two thirds, 65%, expecting any movement to be between plus 5% and  minus 5%.
Eight of the eleven UK regions tracked recorded a positive headline House Price Outlook balance, indicating that more people expect house prices to rise rather than fall. This contrasts sharply with October's tracker when just three regions had a positive headline balance.

Londoners have the most optimistic outlook for the housing market with an overall net balance of +21, followed by the East Midlands at +18 and Yorkshire and Humber at +14. At the other end of the spectrum, the North East has the most negative outlook for house prices at -3.
Over half of those questioned, 57%, identified difficulties in raising a deposit as the main obstacle to buying a property and 55% had and concerns about job security. Some 33% said household finances was a reason for not buying and 30% cited the general availability of mortgages.

Half of those questioned think that it is currently a good time to buy, five times the proportion thinking that it is a good time to sell. The Halifax said that perceptions of the UK housing market as a better one for buyers than sellers partly reflects the dramatic improvement in home affordability over recent years.

Recent research by Halifax revealed that mortgage payments for a new borrower in the second half of 2011 were at their lowest as a proportion of disposable earnings for 14 years.

More Britons believe that private rents will rise than fall over the next 12 months. Some 61% predict that the cost of renting in the private sector will increase over the next twelve months, compared to just 3% who think that rents will fall.

‘The modest improvement in consumer confidence in the outlook for house prices reflects the resilience of the UK housing market over recent months in the face of a weak economic recovery and the deterioration in the outlook for both the UK and global economies,’ said Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax.

‘Looking forward, we currently expect broad stability in house prices in 2012, although there remains much ambiguity around this given the considerable uncertainty regarding the prospects for the UK economy,’ he added.