Things to Look For at the End of Q2
As we come to the end of June there will plenty of market research being published on house prices, mortgage approvals, and levels of buyer and seller confidence over the last three months. Here’s a picture of where the market stood in March and April as a basis for comparison when the new data gets published.
Our information comes variously from the Halifax House Price Index, sales figures released by the Office for National Statistics, and several pieces of polling carried out by Ipsos MORI for the Halifax on consumer perceptions of the market.
Given the price rises we saw over the first third of the year, it’s likely we’ll see further rises during when the latest figures are released. In the period February to April prices were up by 2.2 per cent on the period November to January, and 8.5 per cent on the same three-month period in 2014.
Official sales figures were static for the first quarter of the year compared with the last three months of 2014. But perhaps cause for concern comes from the fact they were down by 6 per cent on the first three months of 2014. Last year transactions rose significantly in the summer months, so it remains to be seen if there has been a comparable trend this year.
The number of mortgage approvals in March was down which doesn’t augur well, though this followed 3 consecutive monthly rises, and the quarterly figures show a rise of 2.8 per cent on the last quarter of 2014.
At the end of March confidence amongst consumers was as high as it had been since July of last year. The Ipsos MORI Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker stood at a net figure of +33 who believed that the next 12 months will be a good time to sell. The figure was only +24 at the end of December.
And yet confidence amongst certain demographic groups remains low. Perceptions of the market amongst first-time buyers remain bleak. The Halifax Generation Rent Report tracks the views of first-time buyers on how attitudes to homeownership, savings expectations and the barriers faced by prospective buyers.
Even though in the last year the recovering economy has helped buyers and schemes like Help-To-Buy have been put in place to help, there has been little improvement in perceptions of the market. The proportion of those surveyed who were actively saving for a deposit on a home dropped by 6 per cent over the previous 12 months to the end of March.