Over 60% of respondents are of the view that it is a ‘buyers’ market’ and just 13% a ‘sellers’ market’. There is also evidence of increased price confidence in the property market with the proportion of those forecasting prices to be the same or higher in 12 months’ time edging up to 66% from 62% a year ago. However, deeper analysis shows that both findings mask some significant regional and local variations which provide further evidence of an acute north-south divide and a property market pock-marked with localised micro-markets.
“On the surface it looks as though potential home movers are feeling a bit more positive about the outlook for property prices. However, hidden beneath is the real story that different market segments are performing very differently and that in all probability your price predictions will depend on your own local micro-market. While parts of the stock-starved south, and London in particular, are feeling relatively bullish about prices, the turmoil of the last few years has wreaked havoc in parts of the buyer-blocked north.”
It is worth considering the variations in national, regional and local price outlooks in the context of confidence. Rightmove’s survey asked respondents to indicate whether they believed that current market conditions favour buyers, sellers or whether the balance was about equal. 60% indicated that they felt that the ‘balance of power’ lay with buyers, and just 13% with sellers, giving a ‘market balance ratio’ of 5.4:1 – or 5.4 people who believe it is a buyers’ market for every one person who believes it is a sellers’ market.
“There is a clear north-south divide in both house price expectations and an even more acute contrast of opinion in where the balance of power lies. A shortage of stock and greater numbers of proceedable buyers lead those in the south to anticipate upwards pressure on prices and so a more tricky market for buyers to negotiate a price reduction in.”