Confidence in the housing market is rising, with two different sources both reporting a healthy proportion of the UK's homeowners are expecting house prices to increase in 2013.
The Office of National Statistics' (ONS) latest house price index has reported that two thirds of homeowners are predicting house prices to increase in the first half of the year. House prices actually climbed by 0.5 per cent month-on-month in November to reach an average of £232,000, which was the biggest monthly increase in seven months.
Sharp regional variations are still present in the market, which mask the year-on-year outcome, showing a 2.1 per cent increase in house prices overall across the UK. However, in London and the south east increases of 5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively were offset by 8.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent respective declines in Northern Ireland and the north of England.
Elsewhere, a separate study by property search website Zoopla also claims homeowner confidence has rebounded into the positive after years of decline. According to a new survey, two thirds of the 2,400 homeowners questioned expected property prices in their area to increase over the first six months of 2013.
Based on their own house price valuations, Zoopla claim the average house price increase over the first half of the year will be £7,261, or 3.2 per cent.
Homeowners in London are the most optimistic. With property in the capital always retaining strong interest from overseas buyers, 84 per cent of those living in London are hopeful their homes will increase in value. The perception elsewhere is a little more pessimistic, as in Yorkshire and the Humber just over half are expecting rises.
Year-on-year, the ONS reports house prices have risen by 2.5 per cent in England, resulting in an average price of £241,000. In Wales a rise of 0.8 per cent is seen, and an average of £157,000. However, that trend isn't evident everywhere, as in Northern Ireland a downward trend continues. Prices were down annually by 8.5 per cent, reaching an average price of £128,000, and in Scotland, a less severe drop was seen, an average price of £178,000 resulting from a 1.1 per cent decline.
One of the major factors cited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for growing optimism is the Government's multi-billion pound Funding For Lending scheme, launched in August to boost mortgage lending.