The Halifax Homebuyer Survey 2000
HOMEBUYERS ENJOY INTERNET-CONVENIENCE WHEN MOVING HOUSE - HOMEBUYERS SURVEY REVEALSHomebuyers are increasingly turning to the Internet to look for properties and find the best mortgage deals, according to the latest survey commissioned jointly by Halifax plc and the House Builders Federation.
Over a third (35%) of the total prospective homebuyer population surveyed have used, or intend to use, the Internet to obtain information about the property market.
OTHER SURVEY HIGHLIGHTSRising house prices - The majority of people wanting to move in the next 12 months think house prices will rise (69% compared to 57% in 1999) with only 8% expecting a fall. Regionally, 78% of those intending to move in the Midlands expect prices to rise, compared to 67% in the North, and 66% in the South.
Confidence in the ability to move - This year 66% of home owners are 'very' or 'fairly confident' in their ability to move house in the next 12 months compared to 60% of first-time buyers - 63% and 75% respectively in 1999.
Regional confidence - People in the South are most confident of being able to move in the next 12 months - 69%, compared to 64% in the North, and just 58% in the Midlands.
Factors promoting confidence - Home owners are now more confident about being able to move within their desired timescale than first-time buyers. They believe they can sell their properties easily and get a good price.
Concerns holding back homebuyers - First-time buyers fear that rising house prices will put the type of home they want out of their reach.
USING THE INTERNETAlmost half of people planning to move in the next three years have access to the Internet for their personal use (48%). Of those with access, around half (49%) of men and over a third (35%) of women have used the Internet to get property information.
There is a younger bias with only a fifth (21%) of the over 55s having Internet-access. However, of those in that age group, over half have used the Internet to search for a property (51% compared to 40% of the under 35s).
Using the Internet to obtain property information looks to set to increase in the future. Over half (56%) of prospective homebuyers with access, who had not yet used the Internet to get property information intended to do so before they move.
ARMCHAIR PREVIEWSHomebuyers regard the Internet as a quick way of getting a feel for the types of properties and prices available without having to visit an estate agent or housing development. It gives them the opportunity for an armchair preview of what's on the market.
Nearly half, (47%) of intending movers with Internet-access have used it to look at both brand new and second-hand properties. A further 7% have looked at brand new only, making a total of 54% seeking brand new properties on the Internet.
The Internet is seen as a particular boon for people who are intending to move to a different area, especially long-distance. They are able to get an instant overview of current availability in their chosen area.
MORTGAGES ON THE INTERNETThe wealth of mortgage information available on the Internet is considered to be extremely useful by potential homebuyers. They like the idea of being able to key in their requirements and be presented with their best mortgage options. People believe they can also get better deals on the Internet.
However, there is still a widely held belief that it is important to see a mortgage adviser to talk things over.
WEB SITE REQUIREMENTSAs an aid to homebuying, people would like to see a more comprehensive selection of properties on the Internet, along with more price ranges and a wider choice of locations. Quicker website updates, removing properties once they are sold, would also be appreciated to avoid disappointment.
Previews of new sites by housebuilders, giving information before the properties are released would be particularly welcome, as would information on local amenities, performance of schools, council rates and so forth, for people who are intending to move further afield.
There is also widespread interest in using the Internet to find suppliers of home furnishings and appliances, in the hope of saving money, along with links to other web sites to contact tradespeople such as plumbers, carpenters and painters to carry out repairs and alterations.
HOUSE PRICESThe overwhelming majority (69%) of prospective home buyers expect house prices to rise in the coming year - almost back to the high levels of expectation experienced in 1997 (73%), just before the May General Election.
There is also an expectation of more volatility in the market. The proportion expecting house prices to stay the same has dropped to the lowest level since the homebuyers survey began in 1996 (17% in 2000 compared to 53% then).
The South is no longer the most bullish region, with a similar proportion expecting prices to rise as last year (67% versus 65% in 1999), but the minority that expect them to fall has more than doubled to 13% (6% last year).
HOMEBUYER CONFIDENCEConfidence in people's ability to move within the desired timescale has been shaken this year, after a steady period of increases since 1996. Home owners are most confident about moving in the next 12 months (66%) - a 3% increase from 1999. Only 60% of first-time buyers share this confidence compared to 75% in 1999.
Although confidence has generally fallen, the number of first-time buyers intending to move has increased by 1% to 32%. This year, confidence is highest in the North (last year it was the least confident region), with slightly more people planning to move this year - 7% compared to 6% in 1999.
FACTORS FOR AND AGAINST CONFIDENCEBeing able to sell their property is the main confidence booster for 25% of existing home owners, followed by their sense of financial well-being (22%). Personal financial security continues to be the most important confidence factor for 44% of first-time buyers, and the availability of mortgage finance (22%), which worries only 13% of home owners.
Home owners who lack confidence in their ability to move are most concerned about their personal financial security (31% compared to 23% last year) - as are first-time buyers 59%. However, this is less important to first-time buyers than in 1999 (68%). They now fear that house price rises might put the type of property they want beyond financial reach - 19%, compared to 12% in 1999.
THE KIND OF HOMES PEOPLE WANTThe preference for a brand new home has risen to its highest level in four years, with the gap having now closed between those who would consider buying a brand new property and those who would prefer one - equally split at 25%. First-time buyers are still more likely to prefer brand new than home owners - 29% and 23% respectively.
Second-hand modern properties continue to be increasingly popular with 59% of home buyers saying they would consider buying one (58% last year). However, older properties have lost some of their appeal with 41% of intending movers prepared to consider this option, compared to 43% in 1999.
Commenting on this year's survey, Grenville Turner, Head of Intermediary Sales at the Halifax, said:
“Recent house price movements show that the pace of price growth is slowing, which should help to restore the confidence of home buyers, especially first-time buyers. Our new base rate tracker deals for first-time buyers should also help to make home ownership an affordable option for them. Having invested heavily in developing our Internet services, we are delighted that homebuyers, particularly those who are new to homebuying, value the web as a useful and convenient way of researching the property market and finding their ideal mortgage.”
EDITORS' NOTE:Key findings are attached.
HALIFAX/HOUSE BUILDERS FEDERATION SURVEY KEY FINDINGS
MethodologyThe survey was carried out by Mulholland Research Associates. The research comprised:
- An omnibus survey of 6,406 intending homebuyers, 663 of whom planned to move within three years (of those, 383 within 12 months).
- Two focus groups of single people, including the divorced and never married, aged 30 and over, and all living alone - representing the fastest growing group of housing demand.
- Four focus groups of young couples including people aged 20-35, who were married or co-habiting but had no children.
- Four focus groups of families, which included couples with younger and/or teenage children living at home.
- Three focus groups of empty nesters aged 45 and over, whose children had permanently left home, some of whom were retired.
SUMMARY OF RESULTSNote: Comparative figures from last year's survey (where they exist) are shown in brackets.
Abbreviations: FTB=first-time buyer; E00=existing owner occupier.
Moving intentionsThose intending to move to buy within the next 12 months: 6% (7%)
Confidence in ability to moveThose intending to move to buy in the next 12 months
|Not very confident:||22%||(20%)|
|Not at all confident:||13%||(11%)|
Confidence in ability to move by regionThose intending to move to buy within the next 12 months
Not very/not at all confident:
First-time buyer confidence in ability to moveThose intending to buy within the next 12 months.
|Not very confident:||26%||(14%)|
|Not at all confident:||13%||(9%)|
Home-owner confidence in ability to move (subsequent buyers)Those intending to buy in the next 12 months.
|Not very confident:||19%||(23%)|
|Not at all confident:||13%||(12%)|
National house price expectations over the next 12 monthsIntending house movers within the next 12 months
|Stay the same:||17%||(32%)|
House price expectations by region over the next 12 monthsIntending house movers within the next 12 months.
Stay the same:
Factors promoting confidenceThose intending to move in the next 12 months, who were confident about moving in the desired timescale, were asked to give their reasons.
|Personal financial confidence||44% (47%)||22% (27%)|
|Ability to sell||NA||25% (26%)|
|Able to secure finance||22% (20%)||13% (14%)|
|Ability to find suitable property||12% (12%)||9% (11%)|
|Confidence in market||11% (13%)||22%(17%)|
|Determination||4% (8%)||5% (5%)|
Factors mitigating against confidenceThose intending to move in the next 12 months, who were not confident about moving in the desired timescale, were asked to give their reasons.
|Personal financial security||59% (65%)||31% (23%)|
|Inability to sell||NA||26% (39%)|
|Unable to find suitable property||6% (1%)||17% (26%)|
|Inability to secure finance||16% (22%)||3% (4%)|
|Lack of confidence in market||19% (12%)||22% (8%)|
Using the Internet for information on the property marketThose intending to move, with Internet access: 42%
|Have used the Internet||Intend to use the Internet|