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Housing market confidence slumps to six-year low

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The amount of people who believe now is a good time to buy a property is at its lowest level since June 2008, data released by the Building Societies Association has shown.

The trade body said only 29% of respondents believe now is a good time to buy a home, a figure which has slumped from the 40% recorded three months ago.

It said increased focus on the housing market by Bank of England and the impact of new mortgage lending regulations, including additional affordability checks, could have dulled consumer confidence without the need for further action to be taken.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Londoners said there was a housing bubble in the capital city although only 20% believe there is a bubble across the rest of the UK.

Four-in-ten first-time buyers believed building of new homes was the best solution to slow house price rises while the state of the market meant 28% of would-be buyers had put their plans on hold due to the uncertain situation.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA, called on the government to place housing at the centre of its economic plans.

“The single biggest issue in the market remains lack of supply. The population is increasing, household sizes are falling – so there are more of them – all leading to the pressure on prices which we are seeing in varying degrees across the country.

“If the government is serious about tackling the challenges in housing, then it should appoint a housing minister who sits at the heart of government. An overarching housing strategy is urgently needed, one that looks beyond the end of the next parliament and co-ordinates the range of government departments with an interest in and responsibility for all parts of the housing market, including infrastructure development.”

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