More upbeat attitude to property market

The UK population is relatively upbeat about the property market for 2012, according to new research from Santander Mortgages.

It found that 8% of Britons – 3.7 million people – believe they are likely to successfully purchase a new home in 2012.

The news comes as the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reports slightly more positive data for the industry with a 4% rise in mortgage completions in November, compared to October.

Also consistent with the CML’s recent data is the news that younger people are the most likely to buy, with 12% of those aged 18-34 saying they are likely to purchase a new home. This is compared to 7% of 35-54 year-olds and 5% of those aged 55 or over.

Overall 53% of those planning to buy a home are more positive about their prospects of being able to do so than a year ago, compared to only 15% who are more negative.

By region, Londoners are the most confident about their chances of purchasing a home this year, with 13% believing it is likely they will do so. At the other end of the scale only 4% of those in the East of England think they are likely to buy a new property in 2012.

Of those who are likely to buy a new home this year, roughly a quarter (24%) will be first time buyers, while just over a third (37%) intend to buy a new house and sell their current one. A further 15% plan to buy to let and 11% will be buying an additional property to one or more they already own.

Of those who feel they are unlikely to buy a new home this year, the most significant obstacle is not having enough money for a deposit (22%). This is a particular problem for those aged 18 to 34, 42% of whom cite this as a reason for not purchasing this year.

14% say they can’t afford to buy in the area they want to live in and 9% are simply unable to get a mortgage.

5% of aspiring home buyers say they can’t find a property they like within their price range and 3% are waiting for prices to fall further. An additional 4% say unemployment is the main reason for not buying in 2012, and 2% say it’s because they are worried about losing their job.

Others have made a conscious decision not to buy, with 8% preferring to rent and 2% happy to remain living with their parents or other relatives for free.

Homeowners are relatively optimistic about house price rises this year, with 29% of them anticipating an increase in the value of their property over the next 12 months, compared to just 17% predicting a fall in value. Almost one in two (48%) homeowners thinks their home’s value will remain static.

Those in London are the most confident that the value of their home will increase, with 40% believing it will do so compared to only 13% who believe it will fall. In contrast, only 21% of homeowners in the North West expect the value of their home to appreciate, compared to 24% who believe it will lose value.

Phil Cliff, director of Santander Mortgages, said: “Given the tough economic climate people are becoming more upbeat about their prospects of purchasing a new home this year. It’s been a tough few years for the property market overall