Despite a cooling housing market the number of people looking to buy a property in the next two years has risen for the first time since 2001. 12% of Britons plan on buying compared to 11% in each of the last three quarters, according to Alliance & Leicester’s movingimproving index.
The index cites the continuing strength of the rental market and low interest rates as the drivers behind the increase. 20% of those who wish to move do so because buying is cheaper than renting, a viewpoint especially prevalent among those in their twenties.
Paul Cooper, head of mortgages at Alliance & Leicester, said: ‘Although there is some uncertainty in the market, low interest rates and fierce competition among mortgage lenders continues to make buying very attractive. That so many in their twenties are planning to buy is a very encouraging sign, and bodes well for the health of the property market and the investment that homebuyers are making.’
Rob Clifford, managing director of network Mortgageforce, pointed out the paradox of a falling market with increasing buyer numbers, but agreed with Alliance & Leicester. ‘We have more future buyers than we would normally have. 20% of new business enquiries are looking to buy in six months or longer. This is extraordinary, and indicates confidence in the market looking forwards,’ he said.
Londoners are the most likely to move (16%) with the North West and South West least likely, with only 10% in each region expecting to buy in the next two years.