Consumer confidence in housing market rising

Consumer confidence in housing market rising
Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Consumer confidence in the housing market has risen after the March Budget, according to a survey from the Building Societies Association (BSA).

A March survey of more than 2,150 adults conducted after the Budget found 37 per cent agreed it was a good time to buy a property, compared with 27 per cent in December.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the BSA, said: “It’s great to see public confidence in the housing market returning.

“The vaccination rollout and the publication of the government roadmap for easing Covid-19 restrictions are likely to have impacted this, but it’s also clear that some measures announced in the Budget, including the government-backed mortgage guarantee for those with small deposits and the stamp duty holiday extension, have been significant contributors to the growing optimism.”

Announcements made by chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget included a three-month extension to the current stamp duty holiday and new mortgage guarantee scheme in a bid to “turn generation rent into generation buy”.

The survey from the BSA found six in 10 first-time buyers (59 per cent) said the guarantee scheme had made them feel more positive about buying a property.

Meanwhile, two in five people (40 per cent) felt more positive about buying a property following the extension to the stamp duty holiday.

Lea Karasavvas, managing director at Prolific Mortgage Finance, commented: “I would concur that there is now a very definitive window of opportunity that makes this a great time for people to take that first step onto the ladder.”

Karasavvas added that the recent launch of 95 per cent LTV mortgages from AccordBank of Ireland and others presented an opportunity for some to potentially benefit from putting down a lower deposit and the stamp duty holiday extension.

House prices have risen steadily in the past year as the market was buoyed by measures such as the stamp duty break.

Nationwide's March house price index, published yesterday (March 31) showed prices have risen 5.7 per cent annually on average, despite a slight 0.2 per cent dip month on month.

Ashley Thomas, director of London-based mortgage broker, Magni Finance, said: “With the stamp duty holiday extension, we have seen even more confidence in the property market. 

“Although there is a risk of rising unemployment, there has been an opportunity to save significant sums of money in stamp duty since last summer and people continue to capitalise on that for now.

“Looking forward we’re relatively positive about the outlook as the national lockdowns are now easing and the successful vaccine programme has injected confidence into the market.

“Even when the stamp duty holiday is over, we expect people to continue to move as their living requirements have changed since Covid-19.”

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