Property Tracker survey shows housing market sentiment continues to fall

The latest Property Tracker survey from the Building Societies Association (BSA), shows a decline in consumer confidence in the housing market, with just 15% of people thinking now is a good time to buy a property, down from 26% a year ago.

  • Less than one in six people think now is a good time to buy a house

  • Affordability of mortgage repayments is the biggest barrier to buying a home

The latest Property Tracker survey from the Building Societies Association (BSA), shows a decline in consumer confidence in the housing market, with just 15% of people thinking now is a good time to buy a property, down from 26% a year ago.

It’s not however the same picture across the whole country, as there are some significant regional difference: one in five people in London (19%) and the North East (19%) agreeing now is a good time to buy, compared around half that number (11%) in Scotland.

Those disagreeing that now is a good time to buy a property jumped from 39% in June to 52% in September.

Interestingly, a similar number of people think that house prices will rise in the next 12 months (35%) as those who think they will fall in this period (31%) with over a quarter (27%) unsure, demonstrating the general market uncertainty.

Barriers to buying a home

The double-digit growth we’ve seen in house prices in the last year means raising the deposit required to buy a home continues to be a significant barrier, with over half (57%) saying this was blocking them.

However, the seven increases in the Bank Rate since December 2021, with the consequent rise in mortgage costs, has led to the affordability of mortgage repayments being selected as the biggest obstacle in the latest report, with 65% citing this, overtaking concerns about raising a deposit. Access to a large enough mortgage was the third biggest barrier, selected by almost half the respondents (48%)

Affordability concerns

Over the last year, Property Tracker has revealed that people have become less confident about their ability to pay their mortgage or rent over the next six months.

This month we have surveyed people twice, at the start of September before the Energy Price Guarantee was announced and then again towards the end of the month (26-27 September), following the latest Bank Rate increase and the Chancellor’s mini-budget. In early September, 14% of homeowners and 28% of renters said they were not confident in repaying their housing costs, however this fell to 11% and 26% respectively when consumers were asked again in late September. This shows some positive impact the tax cuts and energy price cap announcements have had on consumers’ confidence in their financial position.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage and Housing Policy at the BSA said:

“Inflation continues to rise, and we are by no means sanguine, but it’s encouraging that currently almost nine in ten home owners are not expressing concern about keeping up with their mortgage payments. This is likely to be because around 80% are on fixed rates and therefore it will take time for higher mortgage costs to be felt by many. It’s not surprising that renters are less confident, with around a quarter being concerned about meeting their housing costs.

“The current volatility in the financial markets has impacted mortgage availability and prices, but the mortgage market remains open, and borrowers will be able to re-mortgage when their fixed rate ends. It is important for people to start planning for when their current deal ends, and consider how any new deal will impact their household budgets.

“I expect that affordability for house buyers will remain a key barrier to homeownership for some time as many will not be able to borrow the same amount in the higher interest rate environment. This may well lead to some downward pressure on house prices.

“However, the lack of supply of properties on the market compared to the number of buyers may still continue to provide some support to prices, as will the cut to stamp duty.


Notes to Editors:

  1. The BSA represents all 43 building societies, as well as 7 larger credit unions. Building societies serve almost 26 million consumers across the UK and have total assets of over £481 billion.  Together with their subsidiaries, they are helping over 3.6 million families and individuals to buy their own home with mortgages totalling over £357 billion, representing 23% of total mortgage balances outstanding in the UK.  They are also helping over 23 million people build their financial resilience, holding over £333 billion of retail savings, accounting for 18% of all cash savings in the UK. With all of their headquarters outside London, building societies employ more than 51,500 full and part-time staff.  In addition to digital services they operate through almost 1,350 branches, holding a rising share of financial services branches in local communities.
  2. For this Property Tracker survey fieldwork was undertaken between 26 - 27 September 2022. Total sample size was 2,105 adults. The question regarding confidence repaying a mortgage or rent was also asked between 1 -2 September 2022. Total sample size was 2,074 adults. For the June Property Tracker survey fieldwork was undertaken between 1-6 June 2022. Total sample size was 2,097 adults. All surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.
  3. The proportion agreeing ‘now is a good time to buy’ includes those who agree strongly and those who tend to agree, while the proportion disagreeing includes those who disagree strongly and those who tend to disagree. Respondents who answered 'don't know' are not shown, so percentages do not sum to one hundred.
  4. Respondents were given the option to select up to three’ barriers’ when asked what they think are most likely to stop someone from buying a residential property at the moment.
  5. The full Property Tracker Report can be downloaded at: https://www.bsa.org.uk/information/publications/bsa-property-tracker it will be from 09:00 on Friday 7 October 2022.

Press contacts:

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Email: pressoffice@bsa.org.uk