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Confidence and resilience in the housing market are expected to remain high beyond the end of government support, as falling numbers of prospective homeowners cite the risk of job losses as a barrier to purchase a property.

According to newly released data from the Building Societies Association quarterly Property Tracker survey, the housing market is looking resilient despite the end of Government support schemes looming.

Although the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) will finally close at the end of the month which may lead to additional redundancies, just over a third of people cite a risk of job loss as a barrier to homeownership (34%), compared to 68% in September 2020 and 45% just three months ago.

The end of the stamp duty holiday also appears not to be denting confidence, with just over one in four people (26%) thinking now is a good time to buy a new home, with a similar number (25%) disagreeing, giving a net 1% confidence in the housing market.

Expectations of house prices continuing to rise remains high, with almost half of the respondents (46%) expecting further price increases in the next 12 months.

Energy efficiency of homes

In the survey this quarter we asked for consumers’ views on the importance of a property’s energy efficiency rating and what incentives and/or barriers there are to having a greener home.

Almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) said the energy efficiency rating of property was important when looking to buy a new home, with one in five (21%) of them saying it’s very important.

Asked what would encourage them to buy an energy-efficient home, over half said a lower council tax rate (56%) or a cheaper energy tariff (53%). A cheaper mortgage and evidence that the energy-efficient improvements will add value to the home were also strong incentives at 43% and 39% respectively.

The biggest barrier for homeowners making energy-efficient improvements to their current home is meeting the initial upfront costs, with half the respondents (50%) citing this. Taking too long to recover the cost of energy-efficient improvements (46%) and being unsure about how much money would be saved as a result of the changes (40%) are also significant barriers for homeowners.

The majority of people think some energy-efficient improvements will add to a property’s value, such as replacing the windows and doors (73%) and upgrading the central heating system (70%). However, only a small proportion of homeowners have actually made these changes – just 15% have replaced their windows and doors and 11% have upgraded their central heating system in the last 12 months.

Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage and Housing Policy at the BSA, said: “These latest results are a positive sign that despite the end of some of the coronavirus support measures this month, it appears that the housing market will continue to remain buoyant.

“It’s very encouraging to see that the energy efficiency rating of a property is high on consumers’ radar when buying a new home. However, whilst people can recognise the tangible value of making environmental improvements, it’s disappointing that so few have actually made changes to their own property.

“If Government is serious about meeting its emissions targets, more information and effective incentives are required. With COP26 just weeks away, now is the time to stand up and make stronger commitments and actions to improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock.”