LONDON, April 12 British home-owners are
increasingly upbeat about the housing market and are more
willing to sell than at any time since April 2011, a survey by
mortgage lender Halifax showed on Saturday.
The net balance between those thinking it is a good time to
sell in the next 12 months and those that deem it a bad time
doubled in the first quarter of 2014 to +24 compared with the
fourth quarter of 2013.
It was the highest level for this measure since the survey
started in April 2011 and was a significant improvement on the
first quarter of last year when the balance was -42.
Record-low interest rates and government-backed schemes have
fuelled a rebound in the housing market, with prices now growing
at almost 10 percent a year. These have also been exacerbated by
a shortage of supply and foreign interest in London properties
Britons' greater willingness to sell could ease the pressure
somewhat by increasing the number of available homes.
"The increase in optimism is partly due to stronger house
prices and this shift could provide a much needed increase in
the supply of properties available for sale during the rest of
the year," said Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax.
Sentiment towards buying remained relatively stable at +34
compared with +35 in the fourth quarter of 2013, the survey
Seventy-one percent of British adults expected the average
British house price to rise over the next year, the survey said.
Policymakers have downplayed the view that the housing
market is overheating but say they are "vigilant" with regards
to those risks.
If prices threaten to get out of control, the Bank of
England has said it will address it by curbing mortgage lending
directly before resorting to interest rates for fear that a
premature rise would stifle the broader economic recovery.
(Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Gareth Jones)