Mortgages  

House buying heats up as price outlook cools: Halifax

House price consumer confidence has continued to fall from its peak in July, and is now down to its lowest level since June 2013, according to Halifax’s housing market confidence tracker.

With Halifax forecasting an easing of house price growth to 3-5 per cent for 2015, the tracker shows there has been a reversal of recent momentum, with a higher proportion of consumers now believing the next 12 months will be a better time to buy than to sell.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Mori, was undertaken last month amongst 990 UK adults, finding a net balance of +25 now believing the next 12 months will be a good time to buy; up 14 points since September.

Article continues after advert

In contrast, selling sentiment has fallen to a net balance of +14, a drop of 5 points since September.

Despite recent forecasts indicating economic growth is expected to reach 3 per cent in 2015, the recent fall in house price expectations mirrors a relative fall in consumer confidence for the economic outlook in the next year, having peaked in Q2 2014.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, explained that the strengthening UK economy has caused a steady convergence between the proportions of people who believe it is a good time to buy and a good time to sell.

“The outlook for house prices in 2015 is for growth to moderate but continue to increase, which perhaps explains why the proportion thinking it will be a good time to buy is again greater than the proportion thinking it will be a good time to sell.

“With an interest rate rise expected late 2015, possibly into early 2016 it will be interesting to see what impact the slight reduction in affordability has here.”

Those surveyed in Scotland are significantly more likely than Britons overall to say 2015 will be a good time to buy (65 per cent compared to 56 per cent, respectively). Conversely, almost half of those surveyed in the Midlands (48 per cent) think next year will be a good time to buy.

People in Scotland and north England are significantly less likely than Britons overall to say it will be a good time to sell (38 per cent and 42 per cent compared to 51 per cent, respectively), while those in the south of England (excluding London) are significantly more likely to say 2015 will be a good time to sell.

peter.walker@ft.com