Housing market confidence falls in Q4

Homeowners’ confidence in the housing market fell to its lowest level in a year in Q4 2011, according to Zoopla’s latest housing market sentiment survey.

The poll reveals that 55% of homeowners expect house prices to rise in their local area over the next six months, compared to 59% in Q3 2011.

The amount by which consumers expect prices to rise has also fallen, with the average prediction now standing at 2.2% for the next six months, compared to an expected 2.7% increase in Q3.

Confidence in the London housing market, however, continued to defy expectations for the rest of the UK, with 72% of homeowners in the capital expecting average prices to rise over the next six months, up from 68% in the previous quarter.

London prices are expected to grow by 4.7% in the first half of 2012, up from the 3.6% growth predicted in Q3.

In addition, 48% of homeowners surveyed said the key sign that the property market is improving would be when mortgage availability improves, while 11% of respondents said it is now easier to get a mortgage than it was three months ago.

Nicholas Leeming of Zoopla says: “There is a lot of general economic uncertainty at the moment which is taking its toll on homeowner confidence.

“Until there is some good news on the overall economy, homeowners will continue to be cautious with their optimism for the property market.

“Londoners, however, are living in a market detached from the rest of the UK. Many overseas buyers continue to pile into London property to take shelter from economic or political storm clouds elsewhere which is helping to boost prices and confidence in the capital.”