Buyers cooling but Brits remain confident

Confidence in the housing market is split: the public have never been more optimistic about house sales, but conversely the outlook for the purchase market is at its lowest level since 2011, according to the latest quarterly Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker.

The Confidence Tracker indicates that of those surveyed, 57% feel it will be a good time to sell in the next 12 months, exceeding those who think it will be a bad time (32%). This is the highest score of this measure since the survey’s inception in April 2011, making a net balance of +25 compared with +12 in Q4 2013 and -6 in Q3 2013. Sentiment towards selling is even stronger among owner occupiers with 63% stating that now is a good time to sell.

In contrast, the proportion of respondents who feel that now is a good time to buy has fallen to a net balance of +5, a fall of 29 points in the last quarter. This is the largest fall in this measure since the tracker’s inception in 2011. Positive sentiment fell by 16 points among owner-occupiers between Q1 and Q2 2014 (now at 53%) and those in London and the South East are the most negative.

Positive sentiment towards selling is highest in the East and South East, where 65% think it will be a good time to sell, compared with only 36% who say this in Scotland.*

Craig McKinlay, Mortgages Director at Halifax, commented:

“Over the past two years consumer confidence has continued to grow, however it appears that we’ve reached a tipping point with the equilibrium between buyers and sellers much more out of sync.  The results highlight the regional variations as now people believe that it’s a good time for to sell but not buy, particularly in London and the South East where house price expectations are generally higher and buyers appear to be less inclined to rush into a buying a property as we have seen over the past 12 months.”

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