Britons warier about house-buying: Halifax

LONDON Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:18pm EDT

A builder stands by a ''help to buy'' advert on a Barratt Homes building site in Nuneaton, central England March 20, 2014.   REUTERS/Darren Staples

A builder stands by a ''help to buy'' advert on a Barratt Homes building site in Nuneaton, central England March 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

LONDON (Reuters) - Britons are feeling much less positive about buying a house while sentiment toward selling is improving, according to a survey on Monday which added to other suggestions that the housing market is losing a bit of steam.

The survey by mortgage lender Halifax showed the balance of people who felt it was a good time to buy fell sharply by 29 points to 5 in the second quarter, the largest fall in this measure since the survey began in April 2011.

Conversely, 57 percent felt it would be a good time to sell in the next year, with 32 percent thinking it would be bad.

Britain's housing market has had a rapid recovery, with prices rising by an annual 11 percent nationally by one measure. A lack of new homes coming onto the market has been cited as an important factor.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney last week reiterated his view that the housing market represented the biggest domestic risk to Britain's economic recovery.

However, there have been some signs that the market might be cooling off including a fall in measures of house prices compiled by Halifax and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

"People believe that it's a good time to sell but not buy, particularly in London and the South East where house price expectations are generally higher and buyers appear to be less inclined to rush into buying a property as we have seen over the past 12 months," said Halifax Mortgages Director Craig McKinlay.

Positive sentiment towards selling was highest in the East and South East, where 65 percent of respondents thought it would be a good time to sell. In Scotland, only 36 percent felt positive.

Halifax said that seven in 10 British adults predict the average UK house price will rise over the next year. The proportion who cited rising property prices as a barrier to buying rose by 6 points to 35 percent.

(Reporting by Tess Little; editing by William Schomberg; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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