Monthly Scottish Property Market News and Comment – What’s Happening in the Property Market and Property Prices in Scotland? March 2012

It’s coming to the end of March and we really are full of the joys of spring! The hottest day on record for March, several days of sunshine…it’s hard not to be optimistic in this kind of weather. The only thing to worried about is that we are peaking too soon!

So what’s been happening in the Scottish property market this month? There has been good news coming out of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors about the health of the property market across the UK. We have also had the Budget for 2012 which contained some property-related provisions that affect some property buyers and sellers, particularly toward the top end of the market. And we have seen very healthy activity levels, both in terms of sales and purchases within our own office. So let’s cover all of those areas below…

RICS Survey

The RICS reported, “with milder weather expected coming in to spring, a time when the market traditionally picks up, many surveyors are upbeat about the market, especially if property is priced correctly.” They reported that levels of sellers wanting to put their properties on the market remained ‘flat’ (a slightly more negative way of saying ‘stable’) whilst the number of buyers in the marketplace also remained ‘flat’ (again, ‘stable’).

However, surveyors in Scotland were, on balance, negative about where property prices are heading in the coming months. Of course, it’s not surveyors who buy houses so, if demand and supply remain level, one would think that house prices might remain stable too. Indeed, throughout the rest of the UK, the same underlying factors of numbers of buyers and sellers also remained stable but surveyors throughout the rest of the UK were much more positive about the direction of property prices in the coming months. So what does this mean in practice?

With Home Reports having such a significant part to play in the pricing of a property in Scotland it is possible that the prevailing mood of surveyors in Scotland will have a slightly negative effect on the values that they put on properties in Home Reports. This could have a slightly negative effect on asking prices and, by consequence, selling prices in Scotland.

It should of course be stressed that these figures are based on a cross-section of surveyors across Scotland and that surveyors in, for example Edinburgh or Aberdeen, might be more positive than those in Dundee or Kilmarnock. Time will tell if surveyors in Scotland remain negative in a way that is out-of-line with the rest of the UK.

For the time being though, as far as I am concerned, stable numbers of sellers and buyers should lead to stability in property prices. That certainly has been our experience with the properties that we have sold in the last few weeks.

Budget 2012

I actually covered the effect of George Osborne’s Budget in a separate article earlier this month on our Blog. So, to avoid re-treading the same steps, if you are interested in what effect the Budget might have on you as a property buyer or seller, please have a wee look here:

Spoiler Alert!! If you are not planning on buying or selling a property around the £2,000,000 mark or you are not thinking of buying a property through a company with a view to minimising Stamp Duty impact, the effect isn’t that great.

What Have We Been Seeing Happening in the Property Market and to Property Prices in March?

March has been a great month and we can only hope that property buyers and sellers haven’t suddenly become so enamoured of the good weather that they have become distracted from the busy activity levels that we have encountered so far in March.

One of our team does a ‘rain dance’ every Monday morning with a view to summoning offers for our property sellers. It’s just one of the many steps that we take to ensure that our sellers are getting the very best results! Whilst funny looks are exchanged in the office, it certainly seems to have worked though, with 9 offers being received yesterday (Monday). Several of these have been accepted in principle with surveys and the like having to be done in the meantime before the offers are formally accepted.

We seem to have been putting a disproportionately high number of higher-value properties on the market in the last few weeks compared to what our normal ‘spread’ of properties is. I don’t think that this is down to anything more significant that word is spreading that our Fixed Fee Estate Agency service is even more beneficial the higher the value of the property: the more your fees would have been on a percentage-fee basis, the more you save with a Fixed Estate Agency Fee. I’d suggest that this is the reason why we have then seen a disproportionately high number of higher-value properties selling in the last few weeks.

That said, we have sold properties from £55,000 right up to £500,000 during that period, so there still is interest across the board.

Sales levels have been excellent as have numbers of sellers putting their properties on the market. As we get further into Spring, the traditional time for ‘listing’ properties, this number is only likely to increase. Mortgage availability seems to be improving compared to the last few years so the outlook, certainly around Edinburgh and the Lothians, remains optimistic.

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