New research from the Zoopla Housing Market Sentiment Survey has found that over 9 out of ten homeowners are confident in house price rises in their area into 2016, marking a 4% year-on-year rise in confidence amongst homeowners.
The survey of almost 5,000 homeowners found that 92% are anticipating prices in their area to rise within the next six months – a steady increase from a year ago when only 88% were confident. Respondents expect house price growth to accelerate over the next six months, predicting a 7.2% rise.
The research also found that almost half of homeowners (41%) were planning to improve their property. In addition, almost a tenth (9%) of respondents said they plan to refinance their house, a 3% increase from the end of 2014, as mortgage rates remain at historical lows.
The proportion of respondents planning to sell property has risen to 19% having bottomed out at 15% last year as more homeowners look to capitalise on rising prices.
The East of England has the highest percentage of optimistic homeowners, with 97% expecting the price of property in their area to rise over the next six months. Homeowners in London and the South East are almost as confident, with 96% of respondents across those regions expecting price appreciation.
Despite homeowner confidence around house prices, sentiment around the accessibility of funding is more volatile. While the percentage of respondents declaring it harder to get a mortgage now than three months ago has almost halved (49% to 26%) since the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) was introduced in April 2014, the fact that more than a quarter of homeowners have noticed a recent increase in difficulty suggests that it isn’t all plain sailing.
With ongoing speculation around when the Bank of England will raise interest rates and lenders maintaining a watching brief, it may well be that competitive products aren’t quite as freely available as they were in the earlier part of the summer and borrowers previously spoilt for choice are noticing the change.
Lawrence Hall of Zoopla commented: “As the end of the year approaches, homeowners are the most optimistic they have been in some time.
With the brightening national economic outlook – with real-terms wages rising and consumer confidence almost back up to pre-recession levels – this bodes well for the property market in 2016.
While traditionally the estate agency market tends to take a break over Christmas in terms of completions and viewings, homeowner confidence shows no sign of slowing down and many individuals use the end of the year as a landmark to evaluate how much their property has appreciated over the calendar year.
The only slight chink in the armour is the fact that a sizeable number of people still feel securing a mortgage is becoming more difficult, despite the fact that the MMR was implemented with consumers’ best interests at heart. It could also be an indication that the supply of low mortgage rates that have flooded the market of late could be about to reduce as lenders try to pre-empt the Bank of England’s movements regarding the Base Rate.”