Forget house prices, how’s confidence doing?
FEW people realise how important confidence is to the property market and that, although good looks, position, smart interiors and a pretty garden help sell a house, what actually shifts property in general is confidence.
The more confidence there is, the higher prices are and the quicker sales are achieved. Take early 2007 for example. Confidence was high and the prospect of a financial meltdown looked unlikely; the property market was booming.
Few people realised that, a year later, almost all the confidence in the property market would be gone, the number of homes sold each year would halve and prices would drop by between 10 and 20 per cent, or more.
Confidence returned in early 2010, but the Euro crisis put a lid on that, so where are we now?
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The latest survey by property website Zoopla.co.uk shows that confidence is on the rise. It shows that two thirds of homeowners expect British houses prices to rise over the next six months.
This has yet to feed through to the actual number of houses being sold or the prices they achieve. Prices continue to drop or are flat in six out of England's ten region with only the South West, East Midlands, the South East and East of England showing signs of house price growth. The number of houses being sold has been wobbly too – weakening a bit during the summer compared to last year.
The big challenge for anyone selling a property is that, while confidence is creeping back, it remains a buyer's market and while that remains, prices will continue to hold steady, or drop as the number of homes for sale outnumbers buyers.
But if Zoopla's survey is accurate, then the run up to Christmas may see a property market that's finally showing some signs of revival.
We just need our friends in Europe to keep a more steady hand on the tiller.