Future Market: Lack of confidence and economic uncertainty hold property market back

publication date: Jun 29, 2011
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Property Prices Forecast

Future Market: Lack of confidence and economic uncertainty hold property market back

Knowing what's going to happen in the future with property prices is really tough in the short term, but much easier over a long term period of five or more years.

For the long term, we know that property prices will rise. One of the key reasons for this is prices for everything rise over time. On average, according to Nationwide statistics, property prices since the 1980s have risen by an average of 3% per year, over and above inflation. In other words, if inflation is 4% then house prices would increase by 7%.

We are also sure that the recovery for all house prices over the coming years has already happened in some areas, particularly in London, but also in other wealthy parts of the UK. For the rest of the UK though, it's likely to take another two to five years for prices to really start rising again. In the last recession, prices started to fall in August 1989. They didn't really start to recover versus inflation until the late 1990s. According to Savills, this recession appears to be following a similar pattern.

So the five to ten year forecast for property prices is a rise, with London already leading the way, with price rises likely to ‘ripple' out from the capital.

Tougher to predict is what happens to property prices over the next few months through to the next few years. Forecasts vary dramatically, some ‘doomsters' claiming that prices will fall by another 20% or more. The people saying property prices will fall are typically ‘Capital Economics' and Jonathan Davis. From my perspective they've been predicting property price falls for the last 11 years. The only year neither of them did was in 2007 - when the actual falls came. As a result I'm beginning to cynically think that both of them predict their ‘doom and gloom' to get press and be the people ‘opposite' to what everyone else is saying. If you predict something for long enough you have a very good chance of being correct at some stage!

What will happen over the Summer 2011?

Since the credit crunch, the summer hasn't been a particularly great time for property sales. August in particular has become a pretty poor month from a sales volume and price perspective. Understandably, most people seem to want to move prior or during the summer holidays, so have already made their offers by April/May. As prices aren't rising just now, there is no ‘rush' to purchase a home, so buyers tend to be more interested in having a break rather than house hunting.

One index which is useful and does seem to give an idea of what might happen over coming months is the GFK NOP consumer survey.  May was a ‘good feel' month from a confidence perspective, even for ‘large purchases' which property definitely falls into! According to GFK, the confidence index for major purchase fell from -24 to -26 which was down on the previous year and previous month.  To put this in context, during the pre-credit crunch months in 2006 the scores for confidence making major purchases were -5 to -7.

Despite this, anecdotal evidence suggests June will be a good month relative to previous months in 2011. You can see this from the mortgage figures, and chatting to brokers gives a good idea of how busy they are. May is usually a much better month than April and so far apart from the ‘April' blip, sales are expected to be better. Since a very slow January, month on month the number of mortgages seems to have been growing, albeit that volumes are down versus 2010.

Bank of England


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2007 Height

vs 2007

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Auctions are another good place to have a look at what might be about to happen in the market. Auctions often get busier when the general market is sliding. Lenders tend to sell repossessions through auctions if they can't get rid of properties through agents on the open market. Currently, the number of lots being sold through auctions is up dramatically year on year, suggesting a tightening second hand market.

Auctions - Lots Sold













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A healthy auction market suggests that property investors are ‘busy' buying bargains. Typically, investors tend to shop for properties when they know they are getting a good deal, it's at this time that ‘normal' buyers tend to be staying away from the market or bide their time, so it means prices are likely to fall.

The media definitely plays a major part in what happens over the next three months. Currently their ‘news releases' on the latest set of reports include:-


Daily Mail


  • The Guardian claims 'house market stagnating' - The bad news for potential homeowners comes against a backdrop of static house prices in England and Wales, with the average home rising in value by £20 to £223,971 in May, according to the LSL Property Services/Acadametrics house price index. It takes the annual rise in house prices to 1.1%

So the forecast summary for the next three months is new homes stable, second homes some falls or stabilising depending on the economic conditions, and for London and wealthy areas with lots of cash rich buyers, they are likely to see slow, but sure rises.

Our long term forecast is areas/properties which are already showing signs of property prices heading towards 2007 heights will continue to grow steadily, in line with inflation. Properties and areas which are still showing prices at around 2005 levels are unlikely to grow for at least the next few years.

What's happened in the HISTORIC and CURRENT PROPERTY MARKET?

For more information for buyers and sellers visit:-

What to ask the Agents to better understand your Local Property Market

Residential Property Sale

How to sell a Property in a Falling Market


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