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High house prices rather than Brexit behind buyer wariness – BSA

  • 12/06/2019
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High house prices rather than Brexit behind buyer wariness – BSA
Costly house prices are the biggest driver behind the caution among would-be homebuyers, according to the latest quarterly property tracker survey from the Building Societies Association (BSA).


The study found that of those who disagreed with the statement that now was a good time to purchase a home, 34 per cent said that a correction in house prices would change their minds.

This was followed by a period of strong income growth, cited by 30 per cent, lower mortgage interest rates and a Brexit agreement being reached between the UK and the EU – both 27 per cent.

As the BSA noted, this suggests that even if an agreement does come to fruition, it will not necessarily lead to a strong confidence recovery.

Around one in ten said a no deal scenario would make them more positive.


Negative sentiment – but improving

In terms of overall sentiment about whether now is a good time to buy property, the index recorded a reading of minus five percentage points in June.

It has now been in negative territory for more than two years.

Nonetheless, would-be buyers appear to be slightly less negative – just 28 per cent outright disagreed with the idea that now is a good time to buy, compared to 33 per cent in March.


What will happen with house prices?

While potential buyers are put off by high house prices, increasing numbers expect prices to keep creeping upwards. Nearly a third said they thought house prices would increase over the coming 12 months, up from 29 per cent in March.

The number that expect prices to drop fell from 31 per cent to 24 per cent.

Th trade body noted that a lack of properties coming onto the market had helped house prices to rise “modestly” since the EU referendum, restricting choice and increased competition.


Turmoil is unsettling homeowners

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgages and housing policy at the BSA, noted that the combination of a housing crisis and political turmoil was unsettling homeowners and making them less like to want to move.

He added that with prices being pushed up by so few homes on the market, it was having a knock on effect on first-time buyers, who were already struggling to put together a sufficient deposit.

“If more existing properties went on the market, this would allow ‘second steppers’ to move on, making available more homes suitable for first-time buyers. We also need to see more properties being built to bridge the gap between demand and supply – this would bring more affordable homes to market for first-time buyers.

“This cocktail of existing homeowners staying put, and would-be first-time buyers failing to get on the ladder at all, means we risk stagnating the housing market further.

“To aid this, financial service providers could help educate people of the benefits of saving little and often,” he concluded.


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