Scottish housing market stalls in September, say surveyors

Sarah Speirs
Sarah Speirs

Demand dropped to lowest level since January 2013 during September, as referendum uncertainty hit Scottish market, the latest report from RICS Scotland has revealed.

The number of new homes coming onto the Scottish market also decreased, with a net balance of 14 percent of respondents reporting a decline in new instructions, the lowest since September 2012.

Despite a the slow-down, greater confidence was evident with house prices, with a net balance of 33 percent of respondents reporting a growth in house price momentum in Scotland over the last three months.

Sarah Speirs, director RICS Scotland, said: “The effects of the referendum appeared particularly significant to the housing market during September, with a considerable drop in the number of interested buyers and stock coming onto the market.

“Looking ahead, we expect to see an increase in supply and demand as the market settles, but with interest rates still at historically low levels and long term house price expectations positive, households are not under any real economic pressure to sell. Next year, we expect the house price outlook to be far more subdued.”

The longer term price forecast also looked positive with a net balance of 35 per cent of respondents predicting price growth in Scotland over the coming three months and prices across the UK still expected to rise on average by 2.1 per cent outside of London.

Kevin MacDonald, Inverness, Graham + Sibbald added: “With the outcome of the referendum decided it is now time to re-group and build upon the improvements seen in the market during the earlier part of 2014. Stability and security will be key factors to help maintain an active market through the winter.”

The slow-down in buyer activity stands in contrast to the Scottish lettings market, where demand has continued to grow solidly, despite new instructions to let not keeping pace with the rise in tenant demand.

Chartered surveyors also noted the continued positive impact of the Home Report on the housing market in Scotland, with 70 per cent of respondents reporting that it has reduced the need for multiple surveys. RICS said it will continue to work with the Scottish Government during the five year review process which will conclude at the end of this year.

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