GROWING numbers of people expect house prices to increase in the next 12 months, according to an index.

Half (50 per cent) of those surveyed in early June predict house prices will climb higher in the next 12 months, the Building Societies Association (BSA) found.

This compares with a quarter (25 per cent) of people who said this when the question was asked in December.

With a stamp duty holiday deadline approaching at the end of this month, 30 per cent of people surveyed think now is a good time to buy a property, down from 37 per cent who thought so in March.

Some 37 per cent of people in Wales think now is a good time to buy, as do 33 per cent in Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber and 32 per cent in the north west and south west of England.

At the other end of the spectrum, 25 per cent in the East Midlands, 28 per cent in the West Midlands and East of England and 29 per cent in the South East think now is a good time to buy.

London is in line with the average, with 30 per cent of people there viewing now as a good time to make a property purchase, while 31 per cent in the north east of England believe the same.

From July to the end of September, the stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland will be tapered, reverting to normal levels on October 1.

Of those who are likely to be moving home or buying their first home in the next six months, location remains the number one priority.

But there has been a substantial increase in the proportion of people who said getting more private outdoor space and getting away from built-up areas and closer to nature were also important factors, the report found.

More than half (51 per cent) of those considering a move said it would be to reduce their mortgage payments, compared with just over a third (37 per cent) in December.

For the first time in nine months, raising a deposit was seen as the biggest barrier to buying a property, cited by 59 per cent of people.

During the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of job security became the biggest concern, but this has steadily declined to a factor cited by 45 per cent of people, from 68 per cent in September 2020.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the BSA, said: “Whilst (concerns about job security in the survey are) a declining trend, it remains clear that there are many people for whom the pandemic continues to have a negative financial impact and it’s important both for lenders and Government to ensure that appropriate safety nets are available to give households the support they need, when they need it.”