High confidence among home-owners over property prices, survey finds


More than nine in 10 home-owners expect property prices in their areas to increase in the coming months, a website has found.

Some 92% of home-owners surveyed for Zoopla expect property values where they live to continue marching upwards over the next six months - with a typical predicted growth rate of 9.5% over the period.

Home-owners were found to have high confidence levels in house price growth despite recent reports suggesting factors such as the EU referendum could sprinkle some uncertainty over the housing market in the coming months.

Those in the East of England and South East England are most confident, with 96% in both regions expecting the value of homes in their area to continuing rising in value, closely followed by London, where 94% of home-owners expect prices to keep on rising.

People in London expect to see the biggest increases in value, with home-owners in the capital expecting a double digit growth rate of 12.5% for their area.

Those living in Wales, Scotland and the North East of England tend to be slightly less confident - although the vast majority still expect prices to rise. In Wales and Scotland, 85% of home-owners expect prices in their area to increase over the next six months, while in the North East 80% expect prices to increase. 

A recent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) survey of members found a "climate of uncertainty" lies ahead for the UK's housing market.

Rics previously said new stamp duty changes which have made the tax more expensive for buy-to-let investors, the EU referendum and forthcoming devolved elections are all behind this expectation.

However, another recent report, from Rightmove, showed that the price of a property coming to market across England and Wales leapt to a new record high of £307,033 on average in April.

Rightmove said a recent surge of buy-to-let investors snapping up properties before stamp duty increases on April 1 had enabled more people to trade up - and pushed up house prices higher up the property ladder.

The Zoopla Housing Market Sentiment Survey found that across the UK, home owners expect the value of their own property to increase by 8.8% on average over the next six months. 

The research also found that nearly half (44%) of home-owners plan to improve their properties in the next six months.

Despite the high levels of confidence in the market, the survey of more than 1,600 home-owners also suggests that getting a mortgage approved is a growing concern.

Nearly a third (32%) believe it is now harder to get approval for a mortgage than it was six months ago, up from 26% who said this when similar research was carried out in October 2015.

Lawrence Hall, a spokesman for Zoopla, said: "Despite uncertainty around the upcoming EU referendum, this does not appear to have knocked consumer confidence levels.

"As you'd imagine, those who live in areas that have seen the most marked property value increases over the past few years, such as London, the East of England, and the South East, have the most confidence in further value rises over the coming months.

"What is slightly surprising is the number of home-owners that believe it is now more difficult to secure a mortgage rising to a third despite historically low mortgage rates.

"This could indicate that the supply of low mortgage rates could be about to reduce as lenders try to pre-empt the Bank of England's movements regarding the base rate."