CONFIDENCE in the property market has more than doubled during the last 12 months, with more homeowners anticipating rising house prices, a new report has found.
According to new research by Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, around 45% of householders in Scotland think that price rises seen since the start of the year will continue, up from 20% at this time last year.
The study comes following numerous positive reports for the Scottish housing market in recent months, with the latest figures showing the average price of property north of the border is only 2.4% (£3900) below its pre-recession peak of April 2008, while the value of the average home has climbed steadily for more than half a year.
Last month statistics from the Registers of Scotland revealed that residential house prices across the country grew steadily between 2004 and 2007, rising by 36% overall.
Now the Clydesdale report has found that more than half (55%) of homeowners in the UK anticipate that their home will increase in value over the next 12 months compared to only 25% at the same time last year.
London (80%) and the South East (70%) remain the areas most confident in an increase in property prices, although all other areas have an increasingly positive view of house prices. Recent figures from HM Treasury show that the number of housing transactions is now at its highest since 2008, consumer confidence is recovering and confidence among businesses is also increasing.
Across the regions, the picture is of increasing belief in the market across all areas, with confidence almost doubling or better in each.
In 2013, homeowners in the East of England were least confident, with fewer than one in seven homeowners expecting to see the price of their properties rising in the year ahead.
Confidence has grown most rapidly in this region, with homeowners now more than four and a half times as optimistic compared to last year; meaning two-thirds believe the value of their home will rise in the next 12 months.
Yorkshire has also seen a big rise with homeowners now more than three times more likely to predict growth in property prices than a year ago, when just one in six thought house prices in the region would increase.
Andrew Pearce, retail director for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said: "While some differences remain around the country, it is encouraging to see confidence returning to the property market so widely and so clearly.
"Without exception, there has been a strong rebound in confidence in the housing market in the last year across the regions. We are seeing this positive attitude reflected in the growing demand for mortgages, our own and in the wider market, and the overall level of housing transactions."
Simon Rettie, managing director of estate agent Rettie & Co, said increasing confidence was being boosted by rising house sales.
He said: "There are different areas that are at different stages of recovery. Core markets such as Newton Mearns, Bearsden and New Town in Edinburgh are enjoying decent growth but that has yet to filter out to other areas when the recovery is still fragile.
"The Help to Buy scheme has been great at stimulating growth in the first-time buyer market and we're expecting that to continue to improve.
"But at the top end we are seeing very little movement among properties about the £1 million mark so it could be that people are staying cautious after the dips of the last few years."
See tomorrow's Herald for Scotland's Homes