Return of first-time buyers drives up Scottish house sales

Scottish house sales in 2013 are 17% higher than 2012 according to the latest LSL Property Services/Acadametrics Scotland House Price Index August 2013.

First-time buyers account for the majority of increase in sales with prices down by 0.3% on an annual basis.

Gordon Fowlis, regional managing director of Your Move, an estate agency chain that is part of LSL, comments: “First-time buyers are making a comeback in Scotland. But it is a much more muted recovery compared to south of the border. Falling housing prices have put a dampener on the Scottish housing market. The sluggish rate of growth, shown by the drop in prices of £303 monthly and £430 compared to a year ago, adds to the many uncertainties facing the Scottish housing market. Yet there are several signs that things are changing. The mortgage market is perking up now that the economy is on the mend, with figures showing that sales are up by 10% in January to August this year, compared to 2012. This is due to the bounce back in first-time buyer numbers which has kick-started the market.

“Momentum is building in the housing market as the Government extends a helping hand to first-time buyers. Rising first-time buyer lending has boosted sales activity significantly, as this sector of the market can now take advantage of the many attractive mortgage deals on offer from banks and building societies. There has been a swift improvement in the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages which has sent waves of confidence across the board. Banks are being proactive in their approach and are happier to lend to borrowers without big deposits. Buyers are open to an improved range of mortgage deals, better pricing and more enhanced product choice due to the rise in competition.

“In fact, the Scottish Government has unveiled its own version of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, and around £220m has been set aside to help borrowers onto the housing ladder. First-time buyers are crucial to the housing market’s health, but it is activity from second-time buyers and other movers which will put upward pressure on prices and hence boost the rate of recovery all round. The Scottish Government’s commitment to investment in affordable housing across Scotland will provide a firm foundation for the market’s growth in coming months.”

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