More Britons expect house prices to rise than fall in 2012

Nearly a third of Britons think that house prices will rise rather than fall in 2012, according to the latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker.

29% of Britons forecast that house prices across the UK will increase over the next twelve months, more than the 22% that predict a price decline over the same period.  As a consequence, the headline House Price Outlook balance has moved into positive territory with an overall balance score of +7 percentage points (29% minus 22%).

This represents a marked improvement compared with the negative reading of -2 (28% expecting a rise minus 30% expecting a fall) recorded in October’s survey.

However, the outlook for the housing market remains subdued. The majority think that any house price movement over the next twelve months will be relatively small with around two-thirds (65%) expecting any movement to be between +5% and -5%.

Eight of the eleven UK regions tracked recorded a positive headline House Price Outlook balance (i.e. indicating that more people expect house prices to rise rather than fall). This contrasts sharply with October’s tracker when just three regions had a positive headline balance.

Londoners have the most optimistic outlook for the housing market with an overall net balance of +21, followed by the East Midlands (+18) and Yorkshire and Humber (+14). At the other end of the spectrum, the North East has the most negative outlook for house prices (-3).

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, commented: “The modest improvement in consumer confidence in the outlook for house prices reflects the resilience of the UK housing market over recent months in the face of a weak economic recovery and the deterioration in the outlook for both the UK and global economies.

“Looking forward, we currently expect broad stability in house prices in 2012, although there remains much ambiguity around this given the considerable uncertainty regarding the prospects for the UK economy.”



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