Australians expect house prices to rise and believe this is a good time to buy homes. House price expectations have risen 46% in the four months since May, a new study has found.

The latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment shows continued improvement in consumers’ house price expectations. The national survey, conducted in the first week of September, shows a 4% increase from August in consumers’ house price expectations, which contributes to an overall 46% increase in the past four months. All major cities recorded a bounce in price expectations.

The data also shows that home-buying sentiment is 19% higher than a year ago and sits near a five-year high.

While sentiment for short-term economic conditions remains low, resulting in a 3% decrease in the “economy in the next 12 months” sub-index, consumers expect long-term economic growth.

The results showed a 2.1% increase in consumer sentiment on the economy over the next five years, with a result of 97.8, well above the long-run average of 91.3.of 91.3.