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Housing market confidence rebounds to pre-credit crunch highs

- Sentiment grows in terms of pricing, but weakens on funding availability -

5th January 2010

  • 81% of homeowners believe UK home values will rise over the next six months
  • Homeowners predict 5.7% growth in average house price over next six months
  • Three-quarters of buyers say no improvement in mortgage funding availability
  • Scots confident about rising house prices but Northern Irish are not optimistic

Four out of five UK homeowners believe that property values are set to rise over the first half of 2010, according to the latest Zoopla.co.uk Housing Market Sentiment Survey. This is a marked turnaround from just one year ago, which marked the low point for housing market confidence, when only one in five homeowners was optimistic about the house price outlook.

Of the 10,732 respondents to the survey, 81% expect that home values will rise, with only 10% expecting values to fall over the next six months. The average growth predicted amongst those surveyed is for house prices in their area to increase 5.4% over the next six months whilst, somewhat unrealistically, they expect their own home value to rise by 5.7% over the same period.

Housing transactions show an 87% correlation to the Zoopla.co.uk Confidence Index, lagging movements in confidence by around three months, which indicates that transactions volumes are likely to rise in the coming months. But, confidence alone is not enough to boost activity in the housing market and much depends on the availability of mortgage funding. 75% of those surveyed claim that it is no easier now to get a mortgage than three months ago, placing the onus on lenders to work to increase confidence and help further lift the transaction volumes.

Homeowners once again signalled in the survey that the clearest signal to them of a property market recovery would be evidence of greater market activity in their local area - both in terms of more properties on the market for sale and more transactions taking place. As the UK's leading online property market resource, Zoopla.co.uk keeps users informed of property for sale and recent sale transactions in their local area via both its website and newsletters.

Across the UK, the Scots appear most optimistic about the outlook for the property market in 2010, with 84% expecting house prices to rise over the next six months, compared to 81% in England and 79% in Wales. Homeowners in Northern Ireland are least confident, with only 68% predicting a recovery and one in three expecting values to show no improvement in the near term.

Nicholas Leeming, Commercial Director of Zoopla.co.uk, said: "This time last year, confidence in the property market was at rock bottom and the outlook was bleak. But, a year is a long time in the housing market and, whilst the recovery is still in its infancy, optimism is now back to levels not seen since the credit crunch began in 2007. The shortage of homes for sale has prevented any improvement in transaction levels over recent months but with increased confidence amongst owners about putting their homes on the market to match the pent-up demand from buyers, we could see a welcome boost to the recovery of the housing market."

- Ends -

For further information, please contact Tim Vooght at pr@zoopla.co.uk or on 020 3872 5615.

Notes to editors

About Zoopla.co.uk

Zoopla.co.uk is a unique property website offering users information and tools to help them make better-informed property decisions. Our aim is to provide the most comprehensive source of residential property market information in the UK to help buyers, sellers, owners and estate agents alike and give them an advantage in the property market.

In 2007, following the success of bringing DVD rental to the web with LOVEFiLM.com, Zoopla founders Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain realised that the UK property market had yet to fully enjoy the benefits of the internet in terms of its ability to deliver transparency and efficiency. They set out with the mission to transform the property market for both professionals and consumers by:

  • offering users FREE access to instant value estimates, sold house prices and local information and trends
  • enhancing estate agents' marketing efficiency by providing exposure/leads on a pay-for-performance basis
  • helping users find local agents and other property professionals to assist them in the transaction process
  • letting buyers make offers on ANY UK home and owners test interest in their homes before choosing to sell
  • creating an environment where anyone can ask/answer questions and share their knowledge about homes

By providing FREE value estimates for EVERY UK home, sold prices and local information as well as hundreds of thousands of property listings for sale/to rent, Zoopla.co.uk is fast-becoming the ultimate destination for users to both search for property and to do their market research. We continue to be the UK's fastest growing property website and largest and most active property community, with over a million user contributions to our website in the past 12 months alone. We also offer unique features, like TemptMe. and AskMe., which allow consumers to gain an insight into the market and discover information they won't find anywhere else. Our estate agent directory, FindAnAgent and our unique AskAnAgent feature also help guide users to local professionals directly for their expertise.

Our value estimates are calculated using a proprietary algorithm (secret formula) that we have developed by analysing millions of data points relating to property sales and home characteristics throughout the UK. The algorithm works by comparing relationships between home prices, economic trends and property characteristics in given geographic areas. Our estimates are constantly refined, using the most recent data available and a variety of statistical methodologies, in order to provide the most current information on any home.

Zoopla Limited is a privately held company with a highly experienced and proven management team, backed by well-respected angel investors and leading venture capital firms Atlas Venture (atlasventure.com) and Octopus Ventures (octopusventures.com).

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