More people predict house price rises than falls in coming year

However, more than one in five homeowners who bought between 2007 and 2012 believes their property is now worth less than they paid for it

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The Independent Online

Just over a third of people surveyed forecast that the average UK house price will rise over the next year, while a fifth of predict a decline, according the latest report from Halifax.

The figures show that confidence in house price prospects is significantly stronger than it was at the beginning of the year, although the majority of people think that any house price change over the next twelve months will be relatively small.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "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. 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."

Meanwhile Rightmove has also released new 'optimism' figures with a broadly similar conclusion, suggesting that the proportion of price optimists forecasting higher prices in 12 months’ time has increased from 22 per cent a year ago to 29 per cent now.

However, slightly more than one in five of 2007-2012 buyers felt that their property is now worth less than they paid for it. A total of 17% of those who have suffered price falls since 2007 have been hit by negative equity, rising to 21 per cent among those who bought at the peak of the market in 2007. The figures show that 26 per cent expect average prices to be lower and 41 per cent expect prices to be about the same.

Nearly half of home-owners (49 per cent) who bought in 2007 believe that their home has fallen in value, limiting their capacity to trade up.

Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, said: “While a fall in equity is not necessarily a blocker to a move, with lenders demanding a substantial deposit to unlock their best rates it will deter many from trying to sell and buy again. Five or six years on, many of the first-time buyers of 2007 will be struggling to progress from starter pad to family home.”

"Those predicting a pick-up over the next 12 months will no doubt have hopes that the Funding for Lending Government scheme will provide the seed-corn that will encourage more lenders to scatter more mortgage products onto the volume-barren housing landscape. The mixed bag of local market conditions however, coupled with this patchy picture of sentiment, does nothing to suggest that an overall housing market recovery is looming on the horizon despite the wider economy officially emerging from the double-dip recession.”