Britons’ expectations for house prices remain subdued

Fresh study suggests that consumer confidence in the housing market is potentially settling into a new lower ‘normal’.

Households’ expectations for residential property prices for the coming year remains rather subdued following the outcome of last year’s EU referendum vote, according to a new survey.

The study from mortgage lender Halifax found that more than half – 58% – of Britons expect house prices to increase over the next 12 months, but most of these expect an increase of less than 5%. Some 23% forecast that home prices will be broadly unchanged, while 14% anticipate a decline.

According to the research, the percentage of those people projecting a rise in the average house price was only marginally higher than in October, when the last survey took place, but significantly lower than the average level in the three years leading up to last year’s referendum, Halifax said.

Although the UK economy has remained resilient since the Brexit vote, many people are still cautious about the economic outlook ahead as Britain negotiates its exit from the EU.

Martin Ellis, Halifax housing economist, commented: “House price optimism is little changed since the October 2016 measure, which is significant because it was the first post-Brexit survey and recorded the steepest fall since the tracker began.

“The latest results suggest that consumer confidence in the housing market is potentially settling into a new lower ‘normal’.”

The growth in house prices across the UK showed a sharp decline in the year to March, according to the Halifax.

The country’s biggest lender said that prices rose by 3.8% last month, the lowest rate since May 2013, and down from 5.1% in the year to February.

The inflation rate is now less than a half what it was a year ago.