The headline House Price Outlook balance (i.e. the difference between the proportion of people that expect house prices to rise rather than fall) stood at +20 in December. This is the highest reading since the survey began in April 2011, surpassing the previous high of +19 in March 2012. Optimism has risen since the last survey in October when the House Price Outlook balance stood at +15.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "Conditions in the housing market have been largely unchanged over the past 12 months with little overall movement in either house prices or sales for the second consecutive year. This remarkable stability, given the poor domestic and overseas economic climate, has probably been a key driver of the improvement in sentiment regarding the outlook for house prices over the coming year.
"Ongoing concerns over job security and the challenges in raising a deposit are likely to constrain housing demand and activity next year. Accordingly, we expect continuing broad stability in house prices nationally in 2013."
More than half the respondents (53%) think it will be a good time to buy in the next 12 months. This is nearly four times the proportion feeling it will be a good time to sell (13%). Fewer than one in ten (9%) think it will be a good time to both buy and sell over the coming months, suggesting the level of housing market activity is likely to remain subdued in 2013.
More than half the respondents highlighted concerns about job security (58%) and the challenges in raising a deposit (55%) as the main barriers to buying a home. The proportion highlighting concerns about job security is 7 percentage points higher than in October (51%). There has been a slight decline in respondents identifying the general availability of mortgages as a major hurdle to home buying from 31% in October to 29%.
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