Confidence in housing market and number of mortgage approvals rise unexpectedly

Confidence in housing market and number of mortgage approvals rise unexpectedly




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Public confidence in the housing market is well and truly off the bottom, according to the March survey of home buyers and sellers conducted by propertyfinder.com.

Confidence in the market is now back to levels not seen since September 2008, just before Lehman Brothers went spectacularly bust. 

A majority of the 2,075 respondents to the March poll (61.5%) still believe prices are likely to continue falling, by an average of 3.7% over the coming year, but this is far fewer than the low point in December when 75% predicted further falls in the value of homes.

The pick-up in confidence suggests the number of housing transactions is now likely to recover from its lows, with the latest statistics from the Bank of England showing that mortgage approvals rose unexpectedly in February, up 19% from January.

There is an 80% correlation between transactions and the confidence monitor of propertyfinder.com, indicating that those seeking to buy or sell a property will now be able to do so more quickly. 

Nicholas Leeming, director at propertyfinder.com said: “The prospect of higher transaction activity is crucial for the economy – much more so than house prices. When homes change hands people use all sorts of services such as removals firms, surveyors and so on, and will spend money on renovations and new consumer goods for their new homes. House prices may yet drift lower, but buyers can take advantage now. A typical buyer offered 9% below the asking price in March, saving them around £15,000 on already lower asking prices.”

According to the survey, the spectre of unemployment is the single largest factor suppressing confidence in the housing market. 82% of respondents in March said joblessness would cause further falls in prices. A year ago, just 19% of respondents considered higher unemployment would negatively affect the market. 

Propertyfinder.com has stated that whilst the level of unemployment continues to rise, confidence in the housing market will be subdued.

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