April in the Scottish Property Market - What's the Press Saying?
With headlines like, 'House prices in the UK are barely higher than a year ago' you could be forgiven for thinking that the property market was quite a grim place to be hanging around at the moment. However, not surprisingly, the headline doesn't always match the underlying news. Or, certainly, the tone of the headline can be a bit more negative than the stats that it actually is about.
This headline (admittedly subheadline) actually referred to a recently-published house price survey by the Office of National Statistics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17739966. Which revealed...property prices in Scotland have actually risen by 1.1% in the past year. Clearly, this is good news? Well, according to me, yes of course it is. Whilst it's hardly setting the heather alight, we have had a few years now of falling or static house prices so anything heading northwards can only be a positive sign as far as I'm concerned. Doesn't stop the journalist trying to rain a little on my parade though!
Another headline related to the surge in mortgage lending in March. This followed increased borrowing and house purchasing activity in the previous few months. That increased activity, for several months now, has been put-down to the end of the higher Stamp Duty exemption (for properties up to £250,000) for first time buyers. So, perhaps not surprisingly, news that mortgage lending was up by 17% compared to the same month in 2011 and a full 30% up on February 2012 was met by the same sort of outpouring of cold water: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17811411
However, end of Stamp Duty exemption or not, that exemption has been in place for a couple of years now and, whilst it's normal for people to leave things to the last minute, I'm personally not convinced that it accounts 100% for the rise in lending. Perhaps it is also because people are more confident in the housing market following a significant correction in the last few years? Perhaps it's because the base rate doesn't show any sign of flying upwards soon? And perhaps that might also account for the rise in house prices in Scotland in the past year?
Or, of course, we could all be turkeys lining up for Christmas...there's always two ways of looking at statistics but I prefer, in this case, to take the positive out of it!
What's Happening in the Scottish Property Market from Our Point of View?
April has provided us with an absolute deluge of property sellers deciding to put their properties on the market. It's also been a fantastic month for sales, with buying activity remaining at a very healthy level compared to the already-healthy levels that we experienced in March.
These numbers are reflected across the board, not just at MOV8 HQ, as much as I'd like to say that we are the only busy solicitor/estate agents in Scotland! April is always a busy month, particularly amongst sellers, as evenings get longer and sellers look to take advantage of the perceived traditional Spring selling season. However, we have also experienced high numbers of property buyers registering on our database to receive details of properties that are coming to the market: just as high a number as previous months this year. So that is a good sign that demand is also balancing supply at the moment. Prices remain stable from what we can see and we have seen properties selling for higher than Home Report valuation.
In brief, we are seeing the fruits of the statistics that are mentioned above. The property market is far from dead: quite the opposite, just ask any of our Property Management team who handle Notes of Interest, Offers and buyer enquiries or indeed just look at our April overtime bill! April is always a busy month, usually the busiest of the year, so this is not surprising. The hope is that it will continue through the summer. Time will tell, but anecdotal signs and also official statistics give us very good cause to be hopeful.
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