Housing market confidence remains in the shadow of political uncertainty

Warren Lewis
6th December 2019
Gov 99

Newly released results from the BSA quarterly Property Tracker survey have revealed that housing market sentiment remains negative, despite more people believing prices will rise.

According to the survey, Brexit (selected by 43%) and the General Election result (30%) pose two of the biggest risks to the stability of the housing market in 2020. A rise in the cost of living (36%) and weak economic growth (30%) are also significant perceived risks.

Yet people are a little more optimistic when it comes to house prices: 28% expect them to rise over the coming year, up 5 percentage points on this time last year.

The biggest barrier to homeownership remains raising a deposit (62%) which is relatively unchanged from September 2019 (60%).

The majority of people (77%) consider energy efficiency an important factor when buying a home. A quarter of people (25%) think that the Government should be responsible for improving UK homes’ energy efficiency, 17% think energy companies and 42% say responsibility lies with homeowners. However 50% of homeowners say the costs associated with relevant improvements present a barrier- Over half (54%) say council tax reductions would incentivise them to make their homes more energy efficient.

Paul Broadhead, BSA Head of Mortgages & Housing comments: “Political uncertainty has dogged housing market sentiment for some time, so it is unsurprising that it continues to play an adverse role. With a clear path still not set for Brexit, and with next week’s Election making an impact, market sentiment has remained negative since June 2017.

Raising a deposit continues to be the biggest barrier to homeownership. With the Help to Buy ISA now closed to new applicants, it will be interesting to see how the new Government addresses the issue of helping people onto the property ladder, along with the wider housing crisis. Those who have missed the deadline could still receive Government support to buy their first home by opening a Lifetime ISA (LISA).

Elsewhere, the BSA’s sector-led Green Task Force has been set up to work across this critical topic in a bid to make ‘going green’ as seamless as possible. The importance placed on energy efficiency in the Property Tracker results confirm that the task force has been established at the right time.”

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