The LSL/Acadametrics House Price Index for Scotland shows an increase of £1,082, or 0.8%, on a seasonally adjusted basis, in the average price paid for a house in Scotland in March, compared to February.
This is the third month in succession in which we have seen relatively high increases in house prices, with February up by 1.2%, the largest increase in a single month since June 2007.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, part of LSL Property Services, said: “Although the Scottish housing market has had to battle with a lack of cheap mortgages and poor funding conditions over the last year, it looks as if the market is now sailing into calmer waters. This is thanks to the help of the Funding for Lending scheme. The positive increases in house prices for three consecutive months of 2013 are encouraging.
“Green shoots are beginning to show in the Scottish housing market. Sales are climbing, up 8% compared to March 2012. 25 out of 32 authority areas are seeing more sales, with Midlothian, which had the greatest rise in sales, up 70% compared to a year ago. In Edinburgh, which is obviously a crucial market, the number of flats being sold is up by 60% compared to 2012. The rising number of buyers in the first quarter has helped build market confidence in March. But the supply of properties coming onto the market has been constrained. That’s ramped up competition between buyers, and pushed up house prices.
“Although it is not yet clear quite how high the Scottish Government will put supporting the property market up their priority list, the UK Government has taken a number of steps to boost the housing market. The Funding for Lending scheme has been the most important one and has encouraged lenders to lower mortgage rates and reduce interest rates. George Osborne and the UK government are giving the property market a further helping hand with the Help to Buy scheme. That will impact the UK overall, and should help Scotland move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.
“The last year was tough with strict mortgage lending rules which pushed back masses of beleaguered first-time buyers. House prices are still £1,257 lower than a year ago. Sadly poor inflation rates made matters worse and the prospect of public spending cuts in Scotland put the property ladder further out of reach for those struggling to save up for a deposit. But it looks as though we are now turning a corner.”