Confidence in UK housing market stable after drop due to Brexit vote

Confidence in the UK housing market has stabilised following a record decline with almost 60% expecting property prices to rise, according to the latest research.

Over a third feel the next year would be a good time to both buy and sell, however, Londoners are less positive on buying prospects compared to the rest of the country, says the confidence tracker report from lender the Halifax.

The survey, which tracks consumer sentiment on whether house prices will be higher or lower in a year’s time, has increased by two points to 44 from 42 in October 2016 which recorded a record fall following the European Union referendum result.

House price sentiment peaked at 68 in May 2015 around the time of the General Election and the lowest level ever recorded was minus two in October 2011 after a period of declining house prices, the only time it has ever been in negative territory.

Overall 58% expect the average property price to rise in the next 12 months, compared to just 14% who expect prices to fall. However, this compares to a record high of 72% who were anticipating price rises in May 2015.

Among those who expect the average price to rise, there has been a shift towards expecting more modest rises. Those expecting rises of up to 5% have increased from 26% to 30% since October while 28% expect prices to be higher by 5% or more.

‘House price optimism is little changed since the October 2016 measure, which is significant because it was the first post Brexit survey and recorded the steepest fall since the tracker began,’ said Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist.

‘The latest results suggest that consumer confidence in the housing market is potentially settling into a new lower normal. This sentiment echoes the slowdown in the annual rate of house price growth, which has more than halved over the past 12 months,’ he added.

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