U-turn in housing market sentiment

Owner occupiers have become increasingly scared of the UK property market and view now as being a bad time to buy a new home.

That was the assessment given by Nationwide chief economist Fionnuala Earley, who noted that the building society's latest house price report notched up the fifth consecutive monthly fall in prices.

With the annual rate of house price growth now down to its lowest rate in 12 years - just 1.1 per cent - Ms Earley said there could be little doubt that UK property is in the throes of a volatile period of uncertainty.

And that, she insisted, was not a fact that has escaped the nation's stock of first-time buyers and aspiring homeowners.

"Confidence is a very important factor in the housing market and much of this confidence is determined by expectations of the future path of house prices," Ms Earley explained.

"When consumers think prices will rise there is a greater incentive to enter the market, thus supporting demand. On the other hand, if prices are expected to remain static or fall, the urgency disappears and demand will fade."

Published 2nd April, 2008

© 2008 Estates IT Limited

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