Almost three-quarters of homeowners accept that property prices could fall in the next year -- but only 2 percent would sell up in that eventuality, research shows.

Some 71 percent of buyers recognise that the property price boom could be over, although just 9 percent actually expect the value of homes to fall, according to a Building Societies Association (BSA) report into attitudes to home ownership.

A fifth of 1,000 people polled expect there to be no movement in property prices in the next year, while 65 percent believe property prices will continue to rise. Most predict an increase of 3 to 5 percent over the next 12 months.

The research also found that nesting is the key motivation in home ownership, as opposed to capital gain.

Some 77 percent of respondents were buying a home to live in and the primary motivation for almost 90 percent of them was that they wanted to own a property.

Making money from property purchase was important to less than half of those questioned.

The report also showed that, even if there were a 15 percent drop in house prices, just 2 percent of homeowners would sell up immediately.

Instead, 63 percent would retain ownership of their property indefinitely and 11 percent would keep the property with a view to selling once prices recovered.

Adrian Coles, director-general of the BSA, said the findings put paid to fears that the property market might be over-reliant on consumers' expectations that prices will continue to rise.

Consumers have a realistic view of the property market and house price expectations have not fuelled a price boom, he said.

The findings suggest that households' confidence in the housing market is robust and points to the stability of the market if house prices were to fall.

There would need to be some shock to the wider economy for consumers' confidence in their ability to hold on to their property to be shaken.