Sales defy forecasts
Scottish homes changing hands at highest since 2008
Home sales in Scotland remain buoyant
Scottish property sales have risen to their highest level since the financial crash in 2008, defying forecasts of a slowdown.
Homes collectively worth £3.4 billion changed hands during January, February and March – up £80 million (2.3%) on last year, according to Aberdein Considine’s Property Monitor.
Significant growth in the north east and East Lothian has seen the number of homes sold rise by 2.8% to 19,491, year-on-year. The average cost of a property in Scotland is now £166,334.
Aberdein Considine managing partner Jacqueline Law said the report, published today, showed that Scots were “getting on with their lives” amid the political uncertainty.
“It had been feared that Brexit may bring the property market to a halt. However, quite the opposite has turned out to be true so far with the value of property changing hands returning to near-record levels.
“In fact, the only time that first quarter sales have been higher was in the years leading up to the global financial crisis.
Jacqueline Law: ‘people are getting on with their lives’ (pic: Terry Murden)
“Businesses and consumers across Scotland can’t escape the uncertainty which Brexit is creating, but what is clear is that people are getting on with their lives whilst the politicians try and resolve the situation, which we hope will be sooner rather than later.”
Despite the sales growth, the Property Monitor report does show a sudden halt to the house-price growth in Scotland’s biggest cities.
Edinburgh, which was enjoying its best period of property price growth since before the recession, has recorded falling prices so far this year. However, with an average sale price of £258,822, the capital remains the most expensive place to buy a home in Scotland.
Glasgow was also benefiting from a strong period of house-price growth – but has seen prices fall 1.7% so far in 2019 to £152,079.
Average prices continue to fall in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Scotland’s other major market. But after years of decline caused by the oil and gas downturn, confidence is returning. Sales in Aberdeen alone are up by nearly 13% year-on-year.
So far this year, it has been more provincial areas which have grown to boost the national market.
East Lothian recorded a substantial 38% rise in the value of properties sold, reaching £109,039,078, which is a year-on-year increase of £30million.
Neighbouring West Lothian also demonstrated why a significant number of new housing developments are planned for the region with the number of homes sold up almost 12%, and the value of property changing hands rising 19% to £111,392,371.
The cultural and economic renaissance which is currently taking place in Tayside has also continued to have a direct effect on housing, particularly in Dundee. The city followed up a 9% rise in the value of properties sold in the final quarter of 2018, with a further 16% jump in the first months of 2019. Average prices also rose 10% at £134,845.
For the first time, the report also includes research on levels of personal debt in Scotland.
Increased borrowing can be an indicator of households being stretched. However, all but one of Scotland’s 16 postcode regions have managed to cut the amount owed to lenders through personal loans.
Unsecured loan debt across the country is down 8.3% year-on-year, with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire leading the way.
Overall, debt levels in Scotland are falling at twice the UK average.