Confidence is growing
Confidence in house price prospects is growing, with the market significantly stronger than it was at the start of the year.
More homeowners expect prices to rise rather than fall in the next 12 months, separate studies have found, despite inconsistent house sales and a gloomy economic outlook.
According to the latest quarterly Halifax Housing Market Confidence tracker, 34 per cent of householders think the average house price will rise over the next year, with 19 per cent predicting a drop.
Most respondents believe that any price change over the next 12 months will be relatively small. Halifax expects prices to remain broadly unchanged over the rest of this year and into 2013.
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Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "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."
In a separate report by property website Zoopla, 63 per cent of respondents expect values to rise in the next six months, with 18 per cent predicting falls in the same period.
Rightmove has also released figures reflecting a sense of renewed optimism.
Its survey suggests the number of people forecasting higher prices in 12 months' time has increased from 22 per cent a year ago to 29 per cent now.
However, nearly half of homeowners who bought in 2007 believe their home has fallen in value, limiting their capacity to trade up.
Andrew York, of Leicestershire agent Moore and York, said the Leicestershire market broadly reflected a lack of major change.
He said: "The market has been relatively stable since spring 2011. If you look at all the figures and listen to reports there is quite a lot less stock on the market, but a few more applicants, which roughly creates equilibrium.
"Trading is fair and there is no doubt we are faring a bit better in sales and the Halifax report suggests much of the same.
"There is a lot less property coming on to the market, but there are buyers out there."
Richard Bocock, director at Harrison Murray, said the stability of prices had led to an increase in optimism on future investment in property.
"There has been growing confidence in house prices across the board in recent months," he said.
"Prices are remaining stable and for first-time buyers this is a positive sign, giving them confidence in their investment.
"Where they have borrowed from the bank of mum and dad helps for the deposit they feel they are making a safer investment for the future.
"With fewer transactions over the past two to three years there is a growing bottleneck of potential movers and buyers and they have got to move some time.
"While there is likely to be a seasonal downturn over Christmas prices are likely to remain stable next year."