Larry Schlesinger | 7 March 2013

Housing market sentiment rising with 80% of consumers saying now is a good time to buy: RP Data

Four out of five consumers (80%) say now is a good time to buy a home, according to a new consumer sentiment survey carried out by RP Data and online survey firm Nine Rewards in the first week of March.

This is up slightly from the 76% who said it was a good time to buy property when surveyed in October last year.

Rising confidence about stepping onto the property ladder comes as more consumers expect property prices to rise over the next six and 12 months.

More than one third (38%) of those surveyed expect house prices to rise over the coming six months, with 51% predicting prices to rise over the next 12 months.

By comparison, when the survey was conducted in October 2012, 33% of respondents expected home prices to rise over six months, while 42% expected to see a rise over 12 months.

Only 8% of respondents expect prices to fall over the next six months and the next 12 months.

About 54% are expecting prices to remain stable over the next six months and 41% expect no change in house prices over the next 12 months.

RP Data national research director Tim Lawless says the latest survey data shows a substantial upward shift in consumer expectations for housing market conditions.

"The results revealed distinctive differences from region to region where, as an example, 60% of respondents in Perth expected prices to rise over the next six months, and a larger 68% expected higher prices over the coming twelve months," he said

"In contrast, survey participants in Tasmania delivered a much more sedate reaction with only 30% of local respondents expecting prices to rise over the next twelve months."

"As consumer confidence in housing market conditions rises, we are likely to see a larger number of dwelling sales as the year progresses. Transaction data from last year was already showing an improvement in home sales, with 7.6% more homes transacted over the second half of 2012 compared with the first half. If the survey responses are anything to go by, we should see a continuation of this trend through 2013."

The survey also examined what the most important factors were for consumers when choosing a property.

More than half the respondents indicated that their personal financial situation was the most important factor, followed by prospects for capital growth in the housing market (20%), then interest rates (12%).

Only 9.4% indicated job security was their most important factor, while less than 4% indicated government incentives were the most important factor in their decision.

The results of the survey were compiled based on the responses from 1,040 Australians last week.

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