The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has revealed its predictions for the UK property market over the next 12 months.
NAEA chief executive Peter Bolton King said 2012 will see a “gradual” recovery for the UK property market, as it continues to bounce along the bottom – with no “great upturn” to mark a change from the previous 12 months.
Mr Bolton King said: “I don’t believe that we will see a significant fall in house prices over the next 12 months as some have feared. But equally, it is unlikely we will see any great upturn to help the market back to full capacity. It is likely that property transactions will remain at a similar level to that in 2011.”
However, a lack of available finance will remain the biggest barrier to would-be home buyers in 2012 warns Mr Bolton King, with first-time buyers in particular struggling to access mortgage finance from many major lenders.
He said: “Next year will see a continued lending barrier facing those entering the housing market for the first time, with major lenders sticking to tight mortgage policies. Clearly, when the Stamp Duty holiday disappears in the second quarter of 2012 it will become even more difficult for first time buyers to access the market.”
Commenting on regional variations, he said: “What we will see in 2012 is a continued increase in ‘micro-markets’ across the country. Demand for property in some areas fuels a healthy market while other, less desirable areas, are in danger of being left behind. Even within the same town we see some types of property proving more popular than others.
“Pressure for housing will increase in London and the South East throughout 2012. The top end of this market will also remain very resilient, and we believe that purchases from overseas investors will continue apace.”
Overall Mr Bolton King believes that house prices, on average, will see little change. “Confidence in 2012 will be a key factor and this, to some extent, will be driven by the media.”