Monthly Scottish Property Market News and Comment – What’s Happening in the Property Market and Property Prices in Scotland? September 2011

After a predictably slow August, we were of course hoping to see September come roaring back. And from our point of view it has, returning to the types of volumes that we saw at the busiest times of this year.

During the month there has been a lot of negative Press around concerning the property market: nothing really new there then! I’ll let you know what has been reported this month and give you our view of what is actually happening in the Scottish property market as someone who runs a business in that sector, day in, day out.

And as a wee bonus, I’ll answer one of the questions we’re hearing a lot at the end of this article: should I be selling my property at this time of year or should I wait until the new year? The statistics and the answer might surprise you…

What’s Been Reported This Month?

If you read the papers or spent much time on news websites this month you’d probably be forgiven for thinking that it really was a disastrous time that we find ourselves in just now . The Press was full of stories of house prices crashing, global financial markets crashing, and all round negativity. One by one:

  • The Department for Communities and Local Government statistics showed an annual fall in property prices in Scotland in the past year of 2.3%.
  • Rightmove’s latest House Price Index showed the average asking price increased by 0.7 per cent over the month to £233,139, following a drop of 2.1 per cent between July and August. This is a UK statistic, not a Scottish one, and I’ve already blogged about why asking price statistics aren’t terribly useful:
  • Meanwhile, Nationwide reported a 0.4% year-on-year drop in prices. Halifax around the same time reported a 2.6% drop in property prices. These statistics are based on UK-wide figures again and are only based on customers of those lenders.

The Trend Certainly Appears to be Downwards. So What’s Our Take on Things? Are Property Prices Falling in Scotland?

For a full analysis of where house prices are heading, please have a wee look at this Blog post that I wrote earlier this month:

For a briefer analysis of what we are actually seeing happening, I can confirm that we have seen sales across the board in this past month. There are a few days to go this month so there may be some surprises in store. But for the time being, we’ve sold properties between £75,000 and £375,000 in all areas that we operate in. Only today we have received offers on FIVE properties and it’s only 2pm at the time of writing. All of which supports my assertion that if a property is sensibly priced and well-marketed then we should be able to sell it.

What is a Well-Marketed Property? What is the Magic Formula For Making Sure it Sells?

There are buyers out there in every price bracket, just a lot less of them than there were a few years ago. Finding them is more difficult so giving yourself every competitive advantage as a property seller is one of the keys to selling your property. Obviously, having the very best example of your type of property is a great start. However, if the one buyer in the marketplace for your property doesn’t know it exists, there’s very little chance of them finding your lovely property in order to buy it.

Once they’ve found your property though, price is absolutely key. We are of course seeing lower selling prices than we did a few years ago, but you could be forgiven when you read the papers for thinking that prices have dropped by dozens of percent. This is true in some areas and in particular in modern-build developments of flat but most certainly is not the picture that we are seeing everywhere. For a more in-depth veiw of what types of properties are really dragging the statistics lower, click here.

Has Your Property Fallen in Value? Will the Property That You Buy Fall in Value?

The honest answer is that it depends on where you are and what type of property you have. Certain properties certainly have fallen significantly in value in the last few years. On the other hand, other areas of traditionally high demand have recovered from the house price crash that we saw in 2008-09 and are selling now for about what they sold for at the peak of the market. These areas are less widespread than the areas where prices have fallen and where demand remains very low.

Lest you think I’m talking the market up across the board: what we are seeing at the moment is a gradual decline in property prices in certain areas, particularly when you take into account inflation. There is of course no guarantee, at any time, that prices won’t plummet based on economic factors completely out of our control. However, the statistics both on a national and a more local level do suggest a gradual decline or, at best, price stability, for the foreseeable future. What we certainly won’t be seeing is prices rising dramatically.

Does Your Property, or the Property You Are Thinking About Buying, Sit in an Area Where Prices Are Falling, Stable, or Even Rising?

Property is SO LOCAL that the neighbouring street might have fallen in value and yours might have gone up. The only way to know for sure is to get a professional valuation by an estate agent or solicitor/estate agent who has actually sold some properties in your area or can access sales data for your area and who can tell you what is happening IN REALITY and not just in theory or in the statistics.

What Is the Outlook for Property Prices in the Next Few Months?

I remain optimistic about the property market outlook for in the coming months and believe that prices in spite of global markets will remain quite stable in the areas of high demand throughout Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.

Should You Sell Your Property at This Time of Year?

The simple answer is therefore, ‘yes’! In 2010, we had more people viewing the properties on our website in December than we did in any other month.

As we move towards the end of the year, many people decide that they are going to wait until the following year to put their property on the market. Buyers on the other hand don’t stop looking.

I have friends, and MOV8 Real Estate has a database of property buyers who are actively looking and really, really want to (or have to) find something before Christmas.

The simple rule of supply and demand says that if there is less competition, prices go up. If you are one of the few people who decides that your property is to be on the market at this time of year, whilst everyone else decides that they will join the flood of properties that go onto the market in Spring, that’s potentially great news for you.


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