Consumers on verge of buyer rally, claims Rightmove
Over half of consumers plan to buy a property in the next 12 months, according to a survey of Rightmove users.
Rightmove's first consumer confidence report, which surveyed 28,212 consumers between January 5 and 16, found that 46.4% plan to buy a property to live in and 9.8% plan to buy a property that they won't live in, over the next year.
Meanwhile, 11.2% of those surveyed expect to structurally enhance their existing property while 29.4% plan to sell a property in the same period.
It is currently a buyer's market, according to 65.5%, while 88.7% think that it is a bad time to sell.
However, while Rightmove says that 65% acknowledge that there is a window of opportunity for cash-rich and mortgage-ready buyers, they understand that options for first-time buyers are limited, with 17% of 18 to 34-year-olds believing that it's a bad time to buy.
Kathryn Harris, marketing director at Rightmove, says: "There are two things that stand out for me: one, that the country, regardless of age or geography, are united in their opinion of the current market, a situation we would not expect to see in a more stable climate; and two, that the majority of consumers recognise it's a good time to buy a property, in spite of ongoing economic uncertainty.
"Ensuring these people have access to mortgage finance on reasonable terms could play a crucial role in breathing life back in to the market."
She adds: "Mortgage finance clearly remains the biggest obstacle, with younger generations feeling the effects of the credit crunch - 14% of 18 to 24 year olds even predict the opportunity to buy to shrink during the next year, indicating they either expect prices or finance to remain out of reach.
"Falling values and interest rates are also affecting older generations as many of those aged 65 are now seeing their retirement nest egg lose value. It is true that falling values are not an issue if you don't need to sell, but many unfortunately do as the three Ds [death, divorce, debt] and the risk of repossession increases."
Meanwhile, Propertyfinder.com's January survey of 364 estate agents found that agents are also expecting transaction volumes to improve this year.
Gillian Kent, chief executive officer of the portal, says: "Over 90% of the agents we surveyed agreed that buyers were in a stronger position now than they were three months ago, so it is important for them to manage a seller's expectation in order to help them get an offer as early as possible."