Help to Buy will push house prices up - surveyors

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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SCOTLAND’S recovering housing market is likely to see further price rises in the coming months following the launch of a government scheme to help people buy new-build homes, an industry body has claimed.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said yesterday that prices continued to grow in September according to its monthly Residential Market Survey.

However, separate data released yesterday by the Glasgow Solicitors Property Centre and the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre showed that while home sales in the capital are at their highest level in seven years, average property prices in Glasgow and the west of Scotland are currently lower than they were at this time last year.

According to the RICS survey, a total of 32 per cent more surveyors said they had noticed an increase in prices compared with those who felt there had been a decrease, but the group warned that a lack of homes for sale – combined with an increase in demand due to the Scottish Government’s Help to Buy scheme – would be likely to push values even higher.

The scheme, which allows people to buy a new property priced up to £400,000, was launched last week. The government takes an equity stake in the house of up to 20 per cent of the value of the property.

“It’s encouraging that the market is starting to improve in all parts of the country with more buyers looking to make a move and more sales going through,” said Sarah Speirs, director of RICS Scotland.

But she warned that the supply of properties on the market in Scotland was not keeping up with demand, which could push prices even higher.

The market has seen property values plummet since the peak in 2008, but has shown signs of improvement in recent months.

“It’s a big concern that the supply of property coming to the market is lagging so far behind demand, particularly with the recent launch of Help to Buy in Scotland,” said Ms Spiers.

“This imbalance is likely to result in further upward pressure in prices over the coming months, particularly in popular areas.”

The RICS survey found that sales expectations for the coming quarter look positive, with a net balance of 56 per cent more surveyors predicting a rise in sales in the coming three months.

Additionally, buyers continue to access the market, and demand increased during September with a net balance of 78 per cent more surveyors reporting rises in new buyer enquiries.

UK-wide, the picture was similar. Continued growth in new buyer enquiries pushed three-month sales expectations to a series high across the country, while the Help to Buy scheme offered elsewhere in the UK earlier this year has already provided a boost for the housing market, RICS experts said.

Sales surge

Property sales in both Edinburgh and Glasgow have risen sharply in the past three months, reports have found, although the price of homes in Scotland’s biggest city has dropped.

Sales in and around the capital are at their highest level since 2007, according to new figures from the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre, up by 43.8 per cent between July and September compared to last year. Average prices in the city inched upwards by 0.3 per cent over the same period.

In Glasgow, the number of properties sold also rocketed, the Glasgow Solicitors Property Centre said, by 17 per cent, although average prices are now more than 6 per cent lower than they were at the end of September last year.

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