More house sellers could be encouraged to put their properties on the market in the coming months amid strong expectations that prices will continue to push upwards, research suggests.
A survey by Halifax has found consumer confidence that the next year will be a good time to sell a property has reached its strongest levels in at least four years.
Nearly six in 10 (59%) people think it is a good time to sell a home, while just 26% believe it is not, according to Halifax's Housing Market Confidence Tracker.
The overall net balance of 33% more people who think it is a good time to sell rather than a bad time is the highest recorded since the survey started in April 2011.
The research, conducted across Britain, could help to address some concerns raised in recent months about a lack of homes on the market for buyers to choose from.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) recently said it is seeing signs of a "worrying" upward pressure on house prices as a result.
But even if the supply of homes for sale and the demand from buyers is brought into better balance, consumers still expect house prices to continue on an upward march.
House price expectations for the coming year were strongest in the south east of England, which is feeling the ripple effect of buyers looking for value in commuter belt areas situated outside London, and at their weakest in Wales.
Meanwhile, 53% of people believe that now is a good time to buy a home, compared with 32% who do not. The overall balance of 21% more people who believe now is a good time to buy a home has fallen slightly from a balance of 26% in December.
The main barriers perceived to be in the way of home ownership were found to be the ability to raise a deposit and concerns about job security. Just 12% of people mentioned concerns about interest rate rises as a barrier to home ownership, down from 15% a year ago.
Nearly 2,000 people took part in the survey.
Here are the net percentage balances of people who expect house prices to increase rather than decrease over the next 12 months, according to Halifax:
:: East Midlands, 49%
:: Eastern, 75%
:: London, 69%
:: North East, 64%
:: North West, 50%
:: Scotland, 51%
:: South East, 79%
:: South West, 63%
:: Wales, 40%
:: West Midlands, 57%
:: Yorkshire and the Humber, 66%
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