House prices set for a rise

SIGNS of a tentative economic recovery have given a boost to consumers&rsquo; confidence in the housing market, a survey from property website Rightmove has shown.<br /><br />Rightmove said yesterday that 56 per cent of consumers now expect average house prices to be higher in 12 months time, marking a sharp upturn in confidence since January, when 69 per cent expected prices to fall over the year.<br /><br />Only a tenth of consumers are anticipating a fall in prices over the next year.<br /><br />However, Rightmove warned that constrictions on supply were likely to continue into the new year, with only five per cent of respondents to the survey believing the current climate is a good time to sell houses.<br /><br />&ldquo;The lack of new sellers coming to market should ease to a degree in the latter part of next year,&rdquo; said Rightmove&rsquo;s commercial director Miles Shipside. &ldquo;However, it falls short of a resounding vote of confidence with a significant proportion feeling that the challenging conditions sellers are currently facing will remain unchanged for some time yet.&rdquo;<br /><br />The traditional north/south house price divide continues to prevail, the group said, with 12 per cent more respondents in the north feeling it is a bad time to sell, reflecting higher demand and lower levels of stock in the more affluent region of London and the south.<br /><br />The latest survey came just days after data from Rightmove&rsquo;s monthly house price index revealed asking prices for homes in England and Wales are likely to see three months of price falls as sellers postpone moving until after Christmas.<br /><br />The firm said the 1.6 per cent monthly fall in November was a sign that, although the battered housing market has recovered from the depths of the credit crunch in 2008, the recovery does not yet have the strength to buck seasonal trends.