Home-owners ‘have inflated view of their property’s value’ says Aviva

HOME-owners in Northern Ireland could be over-estimating the value of their property by around £37,000 typically, according to a survey.

Nearly one in 10 of all home-owners in the UK believes their house has increased in value since the coronavirus outbreak, insurer Aviva found.

Its survey of more than 2,300 home-owners found that, on average, people estimated the value of their home at £288,263.

This is £52,590 higher than the average UK house price in May of £235,673 as recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In Northern Ireland, people believe their home to be worth £177,454, when in fact the average price is 26.2 per cent (or nearly £37,000 less) at £140,580.

Some recent house price reports have shown property values hitting new records as pent-up demand is released into the market and buyers take advantage of a stamp duty cut.

But economists have said that looking further ahead prices are likely to come under pressure amid wider economic factors such as rising unemployment.

There have also been signs that mortgage lenders are becoming increasingly cautious about lending to people with smaller deposits.

Across the UK, home-owners in London were the only ones who typically appeared to under-estimate the value of their property.

Some 85 per cent of people generally have undertaken some form of home improvement during the lockdown, the study found, which may be behind the high levels of house price confidence among some home owners.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of home-owners however think the value of their homes has not changed for better or worse in recent months.

Gareth Hemming at Aviva said: “While a number of people may be quite accurate in their property estimates, the fact that the numbers overall are so much higher than official figures, suggests that some people may be unaware of current house values – or are valuing their own homes through an optimistic lens.”

The report also suggests there could be a boom in granny flats around the corner – although in many cases adult children or lodgers could be living in them rather than elderly relatives.

The Aviva ‘How We Live’ report estimated that one in 20 UK households have such a space already, with converted garages, cellars and separate outbuildings providing extra accommodation.

A further 7 per cent of householders said they have plans to develop this type of space, many of them to house adult children.

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