Scottish house sales highest in 5 years

Robyn Hall

September 18, 2013

And house prices increased slightly for the first time in four months with the LSL Acadametrics House Price Index recording 0.3% growth, an increase of £400.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, part of LSL Property Services, said: “House prices haven’t been increasing in Scotland anything like as quickly as they have in England.

“But they did rise for the first time in four months in July which could be the start of a prolonged period of house price increases.”

Ordinarily the market expects an increase of 7% in the number of homes sold in July compared to June as more houses are sold in the peak summer months than at any other time of year.

On an annual basis the increase in houses sold in July 2013 compared to July 2012 was 21%.

Peter Williams, housing market specialist and chairman of Acadametrics, said much of the increase was down to first-time buyer activity.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders data revealed first-time buyers in Scotland took out 6,500 loans in the second quarter of 2013, up 33% over the same period last year and the largest total in a single quarter since mid-2008.

Alongside first-time buyers lending to home movers increased in the second quarter of 2013 in Scotland. There were 8,100 loans advanced to home movers this quarter which was up by 5% on the second quarter of 2012.

This indicates that first-time buyers represented 45% of all sales in Scotland in the second quarter of 2013 up from the long term average of 38% of all sales.

Williams said: “Clearly momentum has been building both within the economy and the housing market albeit from a low base.

“Though real wages have not risen a combination of low interest rates, tax benefits, more mortgage availability and competitive product pricing – reflecting the impact of the Funding for Lending Scheme and other initiatives – have together encouraged more activity.”

Transaction numbers are up, but they are still low by historical standards, which Williams said signifies there will be a further increases in activity as more buyers are tempted into the market and sellers begin to put their homes up for sale to take advantage of rising prices.

Sexton said: “Banks are much more willing to extend an olive branch to borrowers with small deposits which has opened the door to thousands of buyers who were previously locked out of the housing market.

“And the improvement looks like it should be long-lived. The economy is brightening by the day and confidence is spreading quickly. Further growth in the market is expected to continue as new buyers are keen to enter the market and potential sellers will start to put their homes up for sale to benefit from rising prices.

“The surge in activity from the bottom end of the market has sparked a revival in the market. It’s up to the Scottish government to continue to help first time buyers as they are the key to healthy, long term recovery.”

Regionally the area with the highest absolute increase in sales from June 2013 to July 2013 was Edinburgh with 251 more properties sold, followed by Glasgow where there were an additional 245 sales.

In percentage terms looking at the mainland the highest increase in sales was seen in East Renfrewshire up 75% over the month followed by West Dunbartonshire up by 65%.

There were only two areas showing a decline in sales over the period from June to July 2013 being Angus and the Scottish Borders down 9% and 3% respectively.

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