THE Scottish housing market is showing encouraging growth, with a continued rise in sales and inquiries, according to chartered surveyors.
New buyer inquiries and newly-agreed sales rose for the third consecutive month in April, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) found.
The survey is in line with a separate report by a Scottish estate agency group, which recently recorded a rise in inquiries and sales, but found that the average property went for a tenth less than the asking price.
Rics suggests that surveyors remain upbeat about house prices in the months ahead. More than a quarter predict rising prices in the next year, compared with just one in 20 who think they will fall.
The housing survey follows a number of other reports released this week that suggest Scotland’s economy is showing signs of recovery.
Bank of Scotland recorded a rise in business activity and employment in April, Scotland’s three main airports saw more passengers last month than at the same time a year ago and Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce reported a rise in investment and activity in North Sea oil and gas last year.
The Rics survey said: “For the first time since time since mid-2011, the new-buyer inquiries and newly-agreed sales series remained positive for the third consecutive month.
“A net balance of 3 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise in new-buyer inquiries, teamed with a net balance of 6 per cent more surveyors reporting an increase in newly-agreed sales.
“Near-term price expectations are broadly flat, with a net balance of only 5 per cent more chartered surveyors reporting a likely fall in prices over the next three months.
“More significantly, the longer-term outlook suggests a more upbeat picture for house prices, with a net balance of 28 per cent more surveyors predicting a rise in prices over the next 12 months.”
Described as “the most positive reading since July 2010”, the survey added: “Surveyors responding to the survey suggest that, on average, house prices are likely to rise by 1.5 per cent over this period.”
Rics Scotland director Sarah Speirs said: “It is encouraging that the Scottish housing market continues to indicate that we are moving away from the highly negative figures witnessed in previous years. However, despite this, activity is still much lower that pre-crisis norm, and action is required to increase finance and give the market the real thrust that is required.”
Thomas Baird, registered valuer at Select Surveyors in Glasgow, said: “We are expecting the number of property sales to increase over the next six months and a slight increase in valuation to reflect this.
“The number of home report instructions remains steady and again we would anticipate an increase over the summer months.”
Tenant demand in Scotland also remains robust, according to Rics, with a quarter more surveyors reporting an increase in rent expectations over the next three months.