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Confidence in the housing market tumbles to its lowest level in at least three years

Confidence in the housing market has tumbled to its lowest level in at least three years amid fears of over-inflated prices and a potential rises in interest rates. Across the country, the net balance of people who believe the next year will be a good time to buy a home has plunged to 5pc from 34pc in the end of the first three months of the year, according to Halifax’s quarterly Housing Market Confidence tracker.

The figure represents the difference between the proportion of those surveyed who are positive about buying in the next 12 months and proportion who think it will be a bad time for buyers.

People in London and the South East are more negative than any other region. Those in Scotland and the North East are the most confident about buying, the survey found.

Halifax said there has been a sharp rise in people who say rising prices are a barrier to buying. Some 35pc cited the concern compared with 20pc this time last year. Worries about interest rates rising are also increasing, with 18pc of people pointing to the possibility of action by the Bank of England as the recovery continues as a factor, up from 13pc last year.

While feelings about buying a home are their most negative since the survey began in 2011, confidence that the coming months are a good time to sell a property has never been higher.

An net balance of 25pc of people believe that the next 12 months are a good time to sell a property rather than a bad time.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Over the past two years consumer confidence has continued to grow, however it appears that we’ve reached a tipping point, with the equilibrium between buyers and sellers much more out of sync.”

“People believe that it’s a good time to sell but not buy, particularly in London and the South East where house price expectations are generally higher and buyers appear to be less inclined to rush into buying a property as we have seen over the past 12 months.”

Last week the property analyst Hometrack said the number of new potential buyers registering with estate agents starting to fall. London in particular is showing signs of a rapid cooldown, it said.