The latest House Price Survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has just come out. What is it saying about the property market in Scotland?
I’ll start with the usual disclaimer.. Part of the survey is based on statistics from estate agency firms that are also members of RICS and there aren’t a lot of them in most parts of Scotland. The rest is based on opinions of surveyors: their feelings as to whether property prices are rising or falling.
The RICS survey this month actually has fairly positive news in it from a Scottish perspective. Well, in the current economic climate you have to try quite hard to find anything positive, so it’s perhaps fair to say that the news ISN’T very negative. But that’s not bad at the moment!
The headline net price balance for the whole of the UK is unchanged at -23. This means that 23% more surveyors recorded prices falling rather than rising over the last three months. Of those, three quarters of the respondents that did report a fall in prices did said that any fall in the past 3 months has been in the 0-2% range.
In Scotland, this figure was only -11. In other words, 11% more surveyors thought that property prices were falling than thought they were rising. That’s an improvement on last month. The majority in fact thought that prices were just about the same.
What does this MEAN for property owners, buyers or potential sellers? Well, it means that property prices are remaining stable in the opinion of chartered surveyors. Since the opinion of chartered surveyors is what sets the Home Report valuation, and since asking prices are generally based around the Home Report valuation, this means that asking prices in Scotland are more than likely to remain quite stable.
This isn’t great news for anyone hoping for property prices to start rising. However, the likelihood of property prices rising in the near future is pretty small given the general economic climate and level of uncertainty when it comes to bail-outs for European banks and countries in the Eurozone. So, to be honest, in an economic climate where small mercies are about the best we can hope for, I’m rather thankful for this one!