Third feel now is good time to buy a home, survey finds

More than a third of people think now is a good time to buy a property, up from a quarter who said this in June, according to research.

The quarterly property tracker survey from the Building Societies Association (BSA) found 37% of people think now is a good time to buy, up from 25% in June.

Views that now is a good time to buy are most positive in the East of England (48%) and least positive in Yorkshire and the Humber (31%), the latest tracker found.

A temporary stamp duty holiday on house purchases, raising the threshold to £500,000, was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in July.

But the survey also found a lack of job security is seen by consumers as a growing barrier to buying a home.

This was selected by more than two-thirds (68%) of people in September, up from 65% in June.

The BSA said looking ahead 12 months, 32% of people believe house prices will increase in the coming year, clearly beyond the March 31 2021 deadline for the stamp duty holiday.

Those in Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales were most confident of this, with 40% and 39% respectively agreeing, while 23% of those surveyed in London and 25% in the North East of England thought the same.

One in 10 (10%) said they were more likely to move because of the pandemic.

Across Britain, people in London (15%) and in Scotland (14%) were the most likely to move home because of Covid-19, while people in Yorkshire and the Humber (4%) and Wales, West Midlands and the South West all at 7% were the least likely to make a move, the survey of more than 2,000 people found.

Many home owners have taken mortgage payment holidays to help them through temporary financial difficulties caused by coronavirus.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgages and housing at the BSA, said: “Looking ahead, the volume of consumers going from a payment deferral back to normal payments is encouraging. However, we are not in normal times and forecasts of rising unemployment, and the imminent end of Government support schemes, mean that lenders are rightly focused on risk and affordability.

“Whilst very definitely open for business, responsible lending is the watchword as we navigate the next six to 12 months.”

The research was released as a separate survey of 2,000 home sellers from online estate agent Strike found that since lockdown began, nearly half (45%) say they have had buyers ask for a price cut.

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The most common discount requested was 5% to 10% off the price.

While a quarter (25%) of sellers said they would consider a reduction of 5% to 10%, nearly three in 10 (29%) would not accept a lower offer.

Sam Mitchell, chief executive at Strike, suggested sellers should also weigh up the quality of an offer from a buyer as well as the price they have in mind.

He said: “Many of our own customers are seeing multiple offers to choose from – an ideal situation to be in.

“But it is also important to remember the quality of any offer is also worth weighing up. For example, has the buyer sold, can they move quickly and has their mortgage already been agreed?

“If a buyer goes into it fully prepared and the answers to these questions align with the seller’s motivations, then accepting whatever the offer may be could be in the seller’s best interest.”