Housing market to end 2012 on a positive note
 according to RICS survey

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director

The UK housing market should see a slightly stronger end to the year with transaction levels expected to pick up and price falls predicted to slow, says the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK housing market survey (9 October 2012).

Helped by the prospect of greater mortgage availability on the back of recent government initiatives, chartered surveyors’ expectations for future sales reached their highest level since May 2010. During September, a net balance of 26 percent more respondents predicted transactions to grow during the final three months of the year.

This cautious optimism was also reflected in surveyors’ price predictions with nine percent more respondents expecting prices to fall over the coming three months. While still in negative territory, this is the most positive reading since the time of the expiry of March’s stamp duty holiday.

Last month, prices in the UK housing market continued to fall, albeit at a slower pace than in previous months. A net balance of 15 percent more surveyors reported falls rather than rises, the best reading since the spring.

Elsewhere, demand from potential buyers remained stable in most parts of the country with four percent more surveyors across the UK seeing increases rather than decreases in new buyer enquiries. Interest from would-be buyers has not seen any significant growth since the end of 2009.

The amount of homes coming onto the market during September remained fairly flat, as five percent more respondents claimed that supply had risen rather than fallen. A persisting theme of the housing market in recent months seems to be that transactions are going through where vendors are realistic in their price expectations.

Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, commented:

“The housing market was relatively flat during September but surveyors are optimistic that the run up to Christmas could see an increase in activity in many areas of the country. Prices are still dipping but at a much lower rate than seen in previous months.

“Despite this, problems still exist and more needs to be done to get the market moving. Unrealistic expectations on the part of vendors seem to be stalling the transaction process. Meanwhile, although the funding for lending scheme appears to be improving mortgage availability, those at the very bottom of the housing ladder are still struggling.”

Homeowner confidence up on last year, says Zoopla.co.uk

• Two thirds of homeowners expect British house prices to rise over next six months

• Average homeowners predicting a 3.4% increase (4.7% increase in London)

Lawrence Hall, spokesman for Zoopla.co.uk

Homeowners are more confident now about the outlook for the British property market than they were at this time last year, according to the latest Zoopla Housing Market Sentiment Survey.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of homeowners surveyed believe that house prices in their area will rise over the next six months, up from 59% at this time last year. Only one in five (21%) homeowners expect property prices to fall during the next six months, down from 26% last year.

And the level by which homeowners expect house prices to rise has also improved over last year with the average owner now predicting a 3.4% rise in their local property prices over the next six months, up from 2.7% last year. Curiously, homeowners remain more confident about the performance of their own homes (expecting them to rise by 3.8%), than those of their neighbours.

London’s homeowners are the most optimistic about the state of the British property market. Four out of five (82%) owners in the capital believe prices will rise in their area over the next six months with average growth of 4.7% expected over this period. Owners in Northern Ireland are the least optimistic with just 53% expecting property prices to rise by March next year.

Lawrence Hall of Zoopla.co.uk commented: “Late summer and early autumn are busy periods for the property market which can lead to a boost in homeowner confidence. The fact that optimism is up compared to last year is a good sign. However, confidence levels remain well below the levels seen in late 2009 and early 2010.”