As I write my first property market update of 2012, I have just listened to to The Beatles’ ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and have been unable to resist a little wry smile. For those of you whose properties are still standing and have an entire roof after the hurricane and extreme weather that we saw in December, I hope you’ll enjoy this month’s update. And, finally, happy new year to you all!
I thought I’d start with a wee update about what’s happening in the property market in Scotland so far in 2012 and then, if you’re interested, I’d suggest reading my article about The Million Dollar Question that everyone is asking at the moment: is it is best to wait until Spring to sell your property or should you just go ahead and put your property on the market now?
General Scottish Property Market Update
It’s been a quick and a slow start to the new year on different fronts.
As far as property sales are concerned, 2012 has got off to a flyer. Just this week we received 7 offers on Monday and a further 5 today, Tuesday. At that rate we won’t have any properties left on our books by the middle of 2012 and we’ll have a lot of happy clients!
However, as good as these sales figures are, the number of new properties coming to the market has been surprisingly slow across the board in January. We had a sensational December, listing 21 new properties on ESPC, just two short of the largest firm in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Why’s it been so slow this year on this front? Property sellers are generally waiting till Spring to put their properties on the market, see: Is the Perceived Wisdom About Selling a Property in the Spring Indeed Wisdom or is it Folly?.
Is the Relatively High Amount of Buyer Activity Versus Seller Activity a Good or a Bad Thing?
Well, if you’re a property buyer, it’s not very good. I’m hearing the same thing time and time again from property buyers – there’s not enough good properties on the market for them to choose from. For ‘motivated buyers’ (i.e. those with finance in place who really, really want to buy something as soon as possible) this is frustrating.
For people whose properties are coming to the market, this is great: increased competition, more chance of getting multiple bids at a closing date and more chance not just of selling their property but also selling it for a great price.
What’s Happening with Property Prices and Market Activity Generally in 2012?
General housing market news has been fairly subdued so far in 2012: there haven’t been many of the sensational, headline-grabbing Doom and Gloom stories crashing about. General wisdom amongst commentators seems to be that the housing market and house prices remain flat and that they are going nowhere in a hurry, either up or down. So more of the same as 2011 really.
Some property price surveys have suggested that property prices across the UK fell by about 1% in 2011: not really enough to set the pulse racing or to induce widespread panic.
In Edinburgh and the Lothians, where we market most of our properties, we’re certainly feeling that prices remain robust. Of the offers that we’ve received so far this year, they have been spread between properties ranging from £65,000 to £500,000 and I’m certainly not perceiving that demand is any different from last year: great demand for family homes, particularly those in the more ‘affordable’ first-time-family-home sector, and steady demand for really good examples of any other properties in any other price-brackets or sectors of the market.
Mortgage availability seems about the same as it has been for a while and rates, as far as I can see (and I’m not a mortgage advisor) seem to be pretty stable: put it this way, I’m personally remortgaging and the rates and lending conditions available to me are the same now as when I originally looked in October 2011 with a couple of additional products actually now available that weren’t available back then. For buyers, rather than those remortgaging, MOV8 Financial (www.mov8financial.com), has been having a level of success that has surprised me in terms of being able to arrange mortgages for potential buyers who, in my mind at least, would have certainly been struggling to get any kind of mortgage a couple of years ago.
The most positive thing to become apparent from the beginning of 2012 is that things have pretty much taken-up from where they left off at the end of 2011: properties are still selling across the board and there are certainly a good number of buyers out there in the market who are able to get finance and who are looking for a good home. There are clearly still people for whom the idea of home ownership means enough that they are prepared to pursue this dream regardless of countless of articles circulating about about the wisdom of renting or not getting on the property ladder. These articles always overlook the fact that people are prepared to pay a price for happiness and that, for many people, owning a home is something that they have looked-forward to for their whole lives. As long as that remains the case, there will always be a good chance of selling a property particularly if you are offering them a good example of that type of property, a property that ultimately will be a great home for that buyer.