A recent survey published by Zoopla has revealed that confidence surrounding the UK property market has reached a four-year high, with 92% of homeowners expecting house prices to rise over the next six months – the highest figure the survey has recorded.
In fact, just 3% of those surveyed predict average property prices to fall – a significant drop on the 19% who anticipated falling prices a year ago, further verifying this improved level of confidence. The average price rise is expected to be 7.2%, a figure that increases to 9.6% in London, with Londoners remaining the most optimistic (98% expect prices to rise in this area).
But, the biggest jump in confidence has actually been in the north of England. In the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber regions the proportion of homeowners who expect prices to rise has gone from 84% to 88% in just three months, signalling broadening housing market recovery that's no longer solely confined to London and the South East.
Homeowners aren't just more confident in terms of prices either. The number of people considering buying a property in the next six months has also increased, up to 22% from 19% in September, perhaps confirming industry expectations that housing market activity will continue to mount in 2014.
However, although this level of increased confidence is good news for owner-occupiers – rising prices can lead to more equity and a bigger deposit when looking to move – industry experts are offering a word of caution to prospective homeowners who might be concerned, as Sylvia Waycot, editor of Moneyfacts.co.uk, says:
"Lots more of us will be considering stepping onto the housing market thanks to the launch of Help to Buy, and the thought that house prices are predicted to rise might set people panicking about the need to act fast. I would caution against this – a house is the most expensive purchase you will make, it is a huge emotional high but could end up being a nightmare if you don't make sure you are buying the property you want to live in for some time rather than just buying fast and hoping for the best."
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