Zoopla has revealed that confidence is returning to potential buyers in the UK property market, according to its latest State of the Property Nation survey.
The annual survey, which polls 6,000 consumers and 650 agents, reportedly “highlighted an opportunity for agents to bridge the gap” between buyers and sellers as sellers continue to remain cautious.
Zoopla found a “modest increase” in the number of people actively looking to buy, sell or rent a property. Active property seekers were “more serious about moving than ever before” with 31% stating they are likely to act on this in 2020.
Home-hunters are also “more determined” this year, with 40% stating they know “exactly” which house or street they want to live on.
However, the supply of properties within budget and in the right locations continue to pose challenges for buyers. Despite this, the property group also discovered a 5% decline in the number of buyers affected by these issues.
The primary challenge for first-time buyers was instead affordability. Some 50% said saving for a deposit was the main obstacle to home ownership, while 43% cited securing a mortgage as the biggest issue. Despite this, first-time buyers were the largest buyer demographic in the market.
While buyers felt “less restricted” in property searches, 36% of homeowners and investors were “still wary” of ongoing economic uncertainty, while 31% feared they would not achieve asking price.
Andy Marshall, chief commercial officer at Zoopla, said: “With the property market, it’s easy to focus on the hard data like the number of sales, but it’s also important to scratch under the surface to understand what is motivating people to make a move.
“We are seeing a polarisation of the market. Confidence is slowly returning among buyers, but this is moderated by a feeling of caution among sellers, with ongoing economic uncertainty causing them to doubt whether they will achieve the asking price they believe their property is worth.”
He added: “This offers a great opportunity for agents to realign sellers’ expectations whilst also educating them on the resurgence the market has seen in the first month of the year. What’s more, there are increasing numbers of people who are active in the property market and those seeking a new property are serious about making a move.
“This again provides fantastic opportunities to agents to highlight their local knowledge and expertise, bringing together buyers and sellers and helping both to reach their property goals.”