Consumers see opportunity amid housing market uncertainty

This is according to the December 2010 edition of the BSA's Property Tracker survey. This shows that the immediate outlook for the housing market remains uncertain, with 43% agreeing it was currently a good time to buy property, 26% disagreeing, and 24% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. A year ago 58% agreed it was a good time to buy.

On average, house prices are expected to be flat next year, according to the survey. The median price prediction is for prices to be the same level in a year's time, although 33% thought that prices would rise, while 36% believed prices would fall in the next 12 months.

A substantial proportion believe property remains overvalued as 38% of respondents thought that properties in their area were over-priced, with 25% believing that properties were over-valued by 10% or more.

Most people would not wait long to enter the market, according to the survey. If they were able to, 59% would buy immediately or within the next year - given sufficient resources - and a further 11% would buy in the following twelve months. 12% would wait for two years or more. This suggests that even if prices are due to fall, most people expect them to bottom out within the next one to two years.

Commenting on the results, Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA said, "Although the housing market remains uncertain, the public does not expect house prices to fall as dramatically as they did two years ago. As such, many expect that the best time to enter the market will be in the next year or so.

"However, barriers remain that might prevent potential buyers from acting on these perceived opportunities. Worries persist about job security, the ability to raise a deposit, and obtaining a mortgage from lenders. These factors might inhibit demand for house purchase from growing as strongly as it might."