Buyers confident in housing market

25 March 2004
Consumer confidence in the housing market is up to its highest level since November 2002, according to figures published by The Woolwich.

The monthly "consumer confidence balance" last month showed a two per cent increase in people who believe house prices will rise. This brings the figure up to 61 per cent, the 2002 peak was 62 per cent.

Consumer sentiment is also reflected in the current rate of house price inflation, which has so far defied the Bank of England's' efforts to control it.

The Woolwich predicts that consumer confidence will be unaffected by anything less than a whole one per cent rise in interest rates.

The head of mortgages for Woolwich and Barclays, Andy Gray, comments: "Despite this burst of confidence house price growth should start to slow over the next few months."

Mr Gray believes small wage increases and rises in council tax "will almost certainly dampen housing market activity." He adds that this will mean "house price inflation will fall to around zero by the end of next year."