Housing market 'favours buyers'

House keysSix out of 10 home movers believe the current market favours buyers, with people in Scotland the most likely to hold this opinion and Londoners the least likely, a study from property analyst Rightmove has found.

While much of the market has stagnated, London has been boosted by demand from overseas buyers, and analysts have predicted this trend will continue in 2012 as the city prepares to host the Olympics.
Some 30% of those surveyed across Britain believe prices will be lower in a year's time, outstripping the 25% who expect prices to be higher.

However, in London people tended to be more optimistic, with around one in three people predicting that prices will rise in 12 months, compared with just one in five people in Wales.

The patchy nature of the market was shown even more starkly at a local level, with two in five people in south-west London predicting increases in a year's time, compared with just one in seven people in Blackpool who held this optimism.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: "Our survey shows that sellers in the South should have more reason to be confident than those in the North, though even within regions there is evidence of variations in confidence in local micro-markets...

"While parts of the stock-starved South, and London in particular, are feeling relatively bullish about prices, the turmoil of the last few years has wreaked havoc in parts of the buyer-blocked North."

Mr Shipside predicted that a lack of houses on the market in the South in relation to buyers who are in a position to proceed would make it harder for buyers in the South to negotiate money off deals.

Those who believe prices will fall tended to say this was due to lack of mortgage availability and tough employment conditions, whereas nearly half of those who predict prices will rise believe the lack of homes on the market would hold prices up.

The Rightmove Consumer Confidence Survey used 32,111 responses received online in January.
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