‘More robust’ property market as sales climb in Scotland

A potential buyer peruses schedules in Edinburgh's ESPC shop. Picture: Jane Barlow

A potential buyer peruses schedules in Edinburgh's ESPC shop. Picture: Jane Barlow

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The number of properties sold in Scotland rocketed by almost 15 per cent in the final three months of last year to their highest level since the start of the recession, official figures have shown.

The volume of residential sales rose 14.5 per cent between October and December, the highest volume of sales for any quarter since quarter one of 2008-09, according to official statistics published by Registers of Scotland (RoS). Meanwhile, prices rose to their highest level since statistics began in 2003. Experts said the rise indicated a “more robust” property market north of the Border.

The highest percentage rise in volume of sales was recorded in Midlothian, where 539 residential sales were recorded – an annual increase of 30.2 per cent compared with the same quarter last year. Edinburgh recorded the highest volume of sales at 3,532, up 21.4 per cent, while the value of total properties sold jumped by more than a quarter to just under £824 million for the quarter.

Meanwhile the largest percentage drop in volumes was in Aberdeen City, which showed a fall of 12 per cent to 1,274 residential sales.

The economy in Aberdeen – where overall market value fell 13.6 per cent to more than £273m on last year – has suffered in recent months as a result of the falling price of oil. Kenny Crawford, commercial services director at RoS, said: “As well as a significant increase in the volume of sales this quarter, prices have reached their highest since RoS began compiling quarterly statistics in 2003. Combined, this indicates a more robust and active property market.”

The total value of sales across Scotland registered between October and December increased by 16.3 per cent to just under £4.83 billion on sales of 28,779 properties.

All property types showed an increase in sales volumes, with flats showing the biggest increase. Detached, semi-detached and terraced properties all saw small decreases in average prices, the report said.

In terms of price, the highest percentage rise was in Inverclyde, where average prices climbed 13.1 per cent to £132,382. Edinburgh held the highest average at £233,255, a rise of 3.2 per cent on the previous year, while the largest percentage fall was in Dumfries and Galloway, which showed a drop of almost ten per cent to an average price of £130,275.

A separate report today showed Scottish rural land prices fell in the latter half of 2015, according the latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Royal Agricultural University.

The average price of rural land fell to £3625 per acre during the second half of 2015, compared with £4375 per acre for the same period in 2014 as supply outstripped demand.

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