More Britons aiming to buy home

Estate agentMore people have their sights set on buying a home in the next few years amid signs of growing optimism in the housing market, research has found.

One third (33%) of Britons surveyed have ambitions to buy a property within five years, showing a jump from 29% when similar research was carried out a year ago, the Post Office said.

Two-fifths (39%) of people who are planning to make a purchase will be first-time buyers, a sector which has particularly struggled in recent years, with many would-be buyers trapped in the rental sector.

The study, which had more than 2,000 participants, suggested that Government schemes to unblock the flow of lending have generally boosted buyers' confidence about their ability to get a mortgage.

One in six (16%) people surveyed said that they have no chance of being able to raise enough cash for a deposit, showing a sharp drop from nearly a quarter (24%) when research took place last year.

However, the findings also suggest that the market is likely to be busier in London and the South East, where house prices have already been holding up relatively strongly.

Almost half (48%) of Londoners, and 37% of people living in the South East plan to buy a home in the next five years, compared with 26% of people in the North East and 30% in the North West.

Recent Bank of England figures have shown steady increases in the number of mortgage approvals to home buyers and the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) also recently reported an uplift in lending to first-time buyers.

The CML said last month that it feels more positive about the UK housing market and the wider economy than a year ago.

John Willcock, head of mortgages at the Post Office, said: "The changing lending landscape, housing market movement and the availability of more affordable mortgages in early 2013, has perhaps cajoled many into feeling more confident about the future of the housing market, with more people hoping to move, or buy a property for the first time, over the next few years."