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Survey suggests moderation in the Scottish housing market

Scottish solicitor estate agents continue to report robust activity in the residential property market with buyer activity well ahead of the same time last year and expectations that sales and prices will continue to rise in the next 12 months.

But the latest SPC Scotland Solicitor Survey could also provide early signs that the speed of the recovery in the market may be slowing. 
The survey – which assesses the attitudes of solicitor estate agents across Scotland – showed that over 60% of respondents believed first time buyer activity was higher now than at this time last year.  Just three months ago, over 70% reported that first time buyer activity was up on the previous year.  Price expectations have also moderated slightly with two thirds of solicitors forecasting price rises over the next 12 months compared to three quarters predicting higher prices just three months ago.

Nevertheless, solicitors are confident that the volume of sales will continue to grow in the year ahead with almost three quarters predicting a rise in sales.  They are also reporting an increase in instructions and over two thirds expect that trend to continue with the number of homes coming on to the market rising further in the next 12 months.

Although the number of active first time buyers has risen, it is the market for family homes that continues to be strongest. Over 70% of solicitor estate agents said that mid-market family homes were attracting the highest demand, with 27% stating that smaller, one and two bed properties were proving most popular.

Commenting on the results Mark Hordern, Chairman of SPC Scotland said:

“Predictions of rising sales, instructions and prices in the coming year all reflect growing confidence among solicitor estate agents in the Scottish property market.  It is also encouraging to see a significant majority of solicitors reporting that first time buyer activity is on the rise.

“We’re also now starting to see an improvement in the number of homes coming onto the market and this is almost certainly the principal reason for some moderation in expectations of future house price growth. This is certainly encouraging news for the long term health of the market and should help ease any fears that the Scottish market is set to see the high levels of house price inflation that have been seen recently in areas like London and the South East.”

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