UK House price confidence softens

For the first time in two years there has been a sustained dent in the confidence of home owners that the value of their property is rising.

A survey by YouGov for the economics consultancy CEBR shows that for the second month in a row there has been an increase in the number of existing owners that prices will dip – the first two-month decline since 2012.

“The surge in consumer confidence over the past 18 months has largely been built on home owners’ faith in property prices increasing. Now we are seeing a distinct cooling off in these expectations and, as a result, overall consumer confidence has stalled” claims YouGov researcher Stephen Harmston.

This morning’s survey comes hot on the heels of a warning by the Bank of England that there are signs of the economy slowing slightly – throwing into stark relief the potential problem for affordability if house prices continue to rise.

This in turn has prompted Bank governor Mark Carney to make another of his veiled warnings of an imminent interest base rate increase.

“A prolonged period of historically low interest rates could encourage other risks to develop. In the UK, the biggest risks are associated with the housing market. History shows that the British people do everything they can to pay their mortgages. That means cutting back deeply on expenditures when the unexpected happens. If a lot of people are highly indebted, that could tip the economy into recession” Carney warns.

The governor has repeated his message from earlier this year that when rates do start to rise from their current all-time low of 0.5 per cent, increases will be “gradual and limited.”