Housing market confidence remains strong

Property Reporter
16th June 2021
For Sale 313

As expectations for further house price rises grow among consumers, we seem a world away from this time last year when nearly half thought prices would fall.

The latest market analysis from the Building Societies Association has revealed that consumer confidence in the housing market remains strong.

According to the data, 30% think now is a good time to buy a property, less than the 37% of people who thought so in March, which is likely to be a reflection of the Stamp Duty holiday which starts to taper down from the end of this month. This may also be a result of the increase in house prices which may be good for sellers, but is a challenge for buyers.

Of those who are likely to be moving home or buying their first home in the next six months, location remains the number one priority, but there is a substantial increase in the proportion who said getting more private outdoor space (73%) and getting away from built-up areas and closer to nature (62%) were also important factors.

However, one of the biggest changes in priorities was the number who are considering a move to reduce their mortgage payments, with over half (51%) citing this as a priority compared to just over a third (37%) in December. These priority changes are evidence of how people are planning to live and work differently as we emerge from the pandemic.

For the first time in nine months, raising a deposit returns as the biggest barrier to buying a property (59%). During the pandemic lack of job security became the greatest concern, but this has steadily declined to less than half the respondents (45%) from 68% in September 2020.

Whilst this is a positive trend, it shows there are still a considerable number of people who do not feel confident about their long-term employment prospects. With this in mind, the BSA is calling on the government to urgently reduce the wait time for the DWP Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan, so that struggling homeowners can get timely access to this extra safety net.

Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage and Housing Policy at the BSA, said: “These latest results are an encouraging sign that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are starting to fade for many, as confidence in the housing market remains strong.

“There’s no doubt that the government support measures introduced over the last 12 months, such as the Stamp Duty holiday, have been key drivers of the confidence we see. It does however appear that the market will remain buoyant as these incentives come to an end.

“Whilst the Nationwide Building Society House Price Index reports house price growth of over 11% in the last 12 months, and our research shows 50% of the public think further price rises are likely in the coming 12 months, it’s not surprising that raising a deposit has returned as the biggest challenge for those wanting to get on the property ladder. It’s therefore good to see that in addition to a number of societies supporting the government’s First Homes initiative, many have also re-introduced low deposit mortgages as part of their standard mortgage range.

“Amongst all the positive signs in the housing market, it’s important to note that almost half of the respondents have concerns about their job security. Whilst this is a declining trend, it remains clear that there are many people for whom the pandemic continues to have a negative financial impact and it’s important both for lenders and government to ensure that appropriate safety nets are available to give households the support they need when they need it”.

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