By Daniel Hunter
More Britons expect house prices to rise than fall over the coming twelve months, according to the latest Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker.
Just over a third (35%) of respondents forecast that the average UK house price will rise over the next year, whilst a fifth of respondents (20%) predict a decline in prices over the same period.
This means that the headline House Price Outlook balance (i.e. the difference between the proportion of people that expect house prices to rise rather than fall) stood at +15 in October.
Although the headline House Price Outlook balance is unchanged from the reading in June, confidence in house price prospects is significantly stronger than it was at the beginning of the year —the House Price Outlook is just over double the +7 recorded in January. It is also significantly stronger than the -2 of October 2011.
However, the outlook for the housing market remains subdued. The majority think that any house price change over the next twelve months will be relatively small with two-thirds (66%) expecting any movement to be between +5% and -5%. The average UK house price in September 2012 was 0.3% lower than in December 2011, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.
"Despite some regional differences, the general improvement in confidence in the outlook for house prices over the past year reflects the relative resilience of the UK housing market," Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, commented.
"Although the weak economic climate remains a significant constraint on housing demand, the low level of mortgage payments relative to income continues to provide support for house prices. We expect house prices to be broadly unchanged over the rest of this year and into 2013.
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