House price sentiment on the rise

Price sentiment3

The majority of UK homeowners believe that the value of their property is rising, according to the new House Price Sentiment Index (HPSI) from Knight Frank and IHS Markit.

A nationwide survey carried out for the monthly report shows that homeowners and potential buyers expect prices to continue rising in the month ahead. The index has now recorded seven consecutive months of positive sentiment and is at a post-referendum high.

Following a slight dip confidence after the Brexit vote last June, positivity about the housing market has continued to increase, with 19.9 per cent of the surveyed respondents feeling that the value of their home had risen over the last month, compared to just 4.9 per cent who believe that prices had fallen.

These figures have resulted in a HPSI reading of 57.5, which is up from 55.8 in January. Any figure above 50 indicates that house prices are rising.

Of the 11 regions of the UK that are covered by the index, respondents in 10 of them feel that house prices are on the rise, with the exception of Wales.

Future outlook

The outlook for the coming months is even more positive, with the future HPSI, which measures what households think will happen to the value of their property over the next year, rising to 67.5 in February. This is up from 65.5 in January and from 62.3 in December and maintains the rising trend that moves the index towards the all-time high of 75.1 recorded in May 2014.

Breaking down the types of homeowners who responded to the survey, mortgage borrowers (73.6) are the most confident that prices will rise, followed by those who own their home outright (69.7).

Clearer picture

Gráinne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said the rise in house prices comes as a “less cloudy picture” of the UK economy starts to emerge.

She added: “Earlier this month the Bank of England revised up its forecasts for GDP growth, and although the country still has to negotiate a withdrawal from the EU, the immediate economic conditions remain positive.

“Homebuyers and homeowners are also benefitting from near record-low mortgage rates, although affordability is an increasingly pressing issue in some areas.”

Gaining confidence

Tim Moore, senior economist at IHS Markit, said that UK households are clearly gaining confidence about the outlook for their property values over the coming year, and also pointed to the improved economic backdrop, resilient labour market conditions and a continued boost from ultra-low mortgage rates.

He noted: “The upward direction of travel for housing market sentiment in February has seen property price expectations recover to levels seen just ahead of the EU referendum, with this pattern apparent among households in all UK regions.”

It comes after figures from the BBC revealed that Help to Buy is continuing to have a positive effect on buyer numbers, with a third of all new homes outside of London now being purchased through the scheme.

Overall, 100,264 equity loans have been taken out at a total value of £4.6 billion, with the average loan being £46,301 as people realise their dream of owning their own home.

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