Wednesday, 25 April 2012 9:09 AM
Public confidence in what will happen to house prices has risen to its highest level since the Halifax started tracking it a year ago.
The bank's housing market confidence tracker for March shows that 39 per cent of people think prices nationally will rise over the next year, almost double the proportion who think prices will fall (20 per cent).
The balance of +19 percentage points compares with one of +7 per cent in January and is the most positive since the Halifax began measuring consumer confidence in the housing market 12 months ago.
Sentiment about prices is positive across all 11 UK regions compared to eight in January and just three in October.
However, despite that the north-south divide has actually widened. The balance of +26 per cent in the south is more than double the north's +12 per cent. In January sentiment in the south was +8, only just ahead of the north's +6.
As is evident in virtually every other survey, Londoners are the most confident, with a balance of +29. People in the North East are the least positive on +6.
Consumer confidence about it being a good time to sell is still negative at -38 but that is a considerable improvement on January's -64.
Over half of people think it is now a good time to buy (55 per cent) against about a quarter who think it is a good time to sell (24 per cent).
However, worries continue about the economy. Some 61 per cent of people identified concerns about job security as the main worry for potential homebuyers followed by problems raising a deposit (45 per cent) and the state of household finances (27 per cent).
Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax, said: "Overall, we continue to expect little overall movement in prices this year provided that the UK economy does not suffer a pronounced weakening."