Property values expected to jump 9%

Home owners are expecting property values to jump by nearly 9% typically between now and September in further signs of growing market confidence.

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The average house price increase of 8.8% that is predicted to happen over the coming months is almost double the typical 4.5% rate of growth anticipated by home owners this time last year, according to the research by Zoopla.

Some 95% of home owners are predicting prices will rise in the coming months, which is the most widespread expectation recorded since the property website's research began five years ago. This time last year, just 74% of home owners expected property values to increase.

Only one in 50 (2%) out of nearly 5,000 home owners surveyed for the latest research expects property prices to fall over the summer, which is down from 13% when the same question was asked a year ago.

Londoners remain among the most bullish about house prices rising, with 97% of home owners in the English capital expecting prices to rise over the next six months as well as average price growth of 12%. The South East has the biggest proportion of people predicting price rises, at 98%, although the average expected increase is lower than that in London, at 9.4%.

But, in further evidence that the housing market confidence is spreading beyond southern England, Zoopla said that Wales has seen the largest increase in home owner confidence about prices rising in recent months. The proportion of property owners in Wales who expect prices to increase in the coming months has surged from 85% just three months ago to 92%.

The research also suggests that home owners in Scotland and the North East of England are the least confident that house prices are set to climb higher in the next six months, although 89% of people in both these areas predict prices will increase.

People living in the South West of England are anticipating the smallest average increase to property values in the coming half-year, at 7.1%.

Zoopla said that in anticipation of strong pricing gains, more than two-fifths (42%) of home owners surveyed are planning to carry out home improvements in the next six months.

A growing proportion are also thinking about moving, with almost one third (31%) of people planning to buy a property in the next year, up from 22% in January.

Lawrence Hall, spokesman for Zoopla.co.uk, said property market confidence is "finally filtering out of London" and across the country.

He said: "With prospective sellers eager to take advantage of a buoyant market and buyers wanting to snap up the best properties before they slip out of reach, indications suggest the market will remain strong over the coming months."

Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that house prices have already leapt 9.1% year-on-year to reach a new average high of £253,000 in February. The ONS figures showed that all regions across the UK saw prices rise annually, ranging from a 17.7% increase in London to a 2.4% rise in Scotland.

The ONS figures have fuelled concerns about "runaway train" house prices making it tougher for people to get onto the property ladder. Some commentators have said strong price rises are partly being fuelled by the Government's Help to Buy scheme, which has helped to increase demand in the housing market.

Help to Buy, which was fully launched into action at the end of last year, is designed to offer people with a deposit as low as 5% a helping hand to buy a home.

But critics have argued that it is adding to the upward pressure on house prices by ramping up demand from would-be buyers in areas where the supply of homes coming to market is failing to keep up.

Separate research released today by independent estate agents network Move With Us found that 57% of agents report that they are experiencing a shortage of semi-detached homes for sale, while 53% believe there is a shortage of bungalows for buyers to choose from and 48% report a lack of terraced homes on the market.

The Move With Us research was conducted among 175 estate agents across Britain and the body found that the average selling time for a three bedroom semi-detached property in Britain is just 71 days, which is around 55 days faster than the national average selling time for all properties.

Here are the percentages of home owners expecting house prices to rise in the next six months in each region and the average predicted percentage increase according to Zoopla:

:: Scotland, 89%, 7.9%

:: North East England, 89%, 7.5%

:: North West England, 90%, 7.9%

:: Yorkshire and the Humber, 92%, 7.7%

:: Wales, 92%, 8.1%

:: South West England, 95%, 7.1%

:: West Midlands, 95%, 9.1%

:: East Midlands, 95%, 8.0%

:: East of England, 96%, 8.3%

:: London, 97%, 12.0%

:: South East England, 98%, 9.4%

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