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Market confidence still not recovered from election, say building societies

Confidence in buying property remains negative according to the quarterly sentiment measure undertaken by the Building Societies Association.

Over a quarter of respondents (27 per cent) do not agree that now is a good time to buy a property compared to just 23 per cent who do.

Despite being in what many regard as a more politically stable environment than in June, when the measure was last taken, other factors remain at play that are dampening consumers’ attitude towards home buying.

Raising a deposit remains the biggest barrier to property purchase (68 per cent) and 45 per cent say affordability of mortgage repayments is a barrier. Home movers are particularly concerned with stamp duty costs (38 per cent).

Four in ten (40 per cent) consumers are concerned about the rising cost of living, and over a quarter (28 per cent) are worried about the difficulty of saving for the future.

“Confidence in the housing market is clearly fragile. Consumers were faced with political uncertainty following the vote to leave the EU and unexpected General Election results, and now the rising cost of living is their latest challenge” warns Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA.

“Consumer prices are running ahead of wage growth, and there is little evidence of this changing in the short term. This is adding to the formidable affordability constraints already facing prospective home buyers” he adds.

“It is evident that home-movers are facing the same affordability pressures as first time buyers, meaning some homeowners are unable to sell their property – further reducing choice and pushing up prices for those just getting on to the housing ladder.“

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