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Housing market confidence at pre-credit crunch levels

Confidence in the housing market has rebounded to pre-credit crunch highs, with four fifths of homeowners expecting property values to increase in the first half of 2010, according to Zoopla.co.uk.

By Dominic Welling | Published Jan 05, 2010 | comments

However, the property website found sentiment remained weak on the outlook for mortgage finance with three-quarters of buyers stating there was no improvement in the availability of mortgage funding.

According to Zoopla, of the 10,732 respondents to the survey, 81 per cent expect home values to increase, with only 10 per cent expecting values to fall, in the next six months.

This is a marked turnaround from a year ago, which marked the low point for housing market confidence, when only one in five homeowners was optimistic about the house price outlook.

The average growth predicted among those surveyed is for house prices in their area to increase 5.4 per cent over the next six months while, they expect their own home value to rise by as much as 5.7 per cent over the same period.

According to the website, housing transactions also show an 87 per cent correlation to the Zoopla.co.uk confidence index, which indicates that transactions volumes are likely to rise in the coming months.

However Zoopla warned confidence alone is not enough to boost activity in the housing market and much depended on the availability of mortgage funding.

Three quarters of those surveyed claimed it is no easier now to get a mortgage than three months ago, placing the onus on lenders to work to increase confidence and help further lift the transaction volumes.

Nicholas Leeming, commercial director of Zoopla.co.uk, said: "This time last year, confidence in the property market was at rock bottom and the outlook was bleak.

"But, a year is a long time in the housing market and, whilst the recovery is still in its infancy, optimism is now back to levels not seen since the credit crunch began in 2007.

"The shortage of homes for sale has prevented any improvement in transaction levels over recent months but with increased confidence among owners about putting their homes on the market to match the pent-up demand from buyers, we could see a welcome boost to the recovery of the housing market."

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