Scottish house prices rise to record high

House prices are soaring. Picture: Jane Barlow
House prices are soaring. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE average Scottish house price has risen by more than 13 per cent in just three months to the highest since records began – as homeowners rushed to beat the 1 April deadline for the Scottish Government’s new Stamp Duty rates.

Each local authority area revealed an increase in property value during the last quarter, according to new data released by the Registers of Scotland (RoS).

The increase in average price is probably down to a surge in sales at the top end of the market

Bob Fraser

The average house price from January to March was £173,830, the highest figure recorded for any quarter since RoS began compiling quarterly statistics in 2003.

Property companies have also revealed that following the deadline, movement in the mid-to-high end market has tailed off, while the lower end has begun to pick up.

During the period the total volume of sales across Scotland fell by 4.7 per cent to just under 17,000, as those at the lower end held back ahead of the April deadline.

Under the new land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) there is no tax on transactions below £145,000 (compared to £125,000 previously). A tax of 2 per cent is charged between £145,001 and £250,000 and there is a 5 per cent levy between £250,001 and £325,000.

A 10 per cent charge applies between £325,001 and £750,000, while there is a 12 per cent rate above that.

Overall, the highest percentage house price rise of 28.6 per cent, to an average of £248,902, was seen in East Lothian, while West Dunbartonshire showed the largest percentage rise in the number of sales, with an increase of 10.6 per cent. Midlothian saw the largest percentage decrease, of 28.1 per cent to 233 residential house sales.

Edinburgh recorded both the highest average for the quarter at £260,647 – a rise of 21.4 per cent – and the highest volume of sales, with 2,123. It also accounted for Scotland’s largest market value, with sales of just over £553 million for the quarter, an increase of 29.2 per cent on the previous year.

Bob Fraser, senior property partner at Aberdein Considine, said: “These figures are for registered sales, and are therefore indicative of the market at the turn of the year. As a result, the increase in average price is probably down to a surge in sales at the top end of the market as buyers looked to settle before the introduction of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

“What we have here is a larger percentage of sales coming from the top end of the market, which drives up the average sale price.”

Mr Fraser said the next set of figures from RoS will better reflect what is happening in the spring market, citing “a mixed picture” across the country.

Paul Hilton, CEO of the Edinburgh Solicitor Property Centre said: “Ahead of the introduction of LBTT, January 2015 saw a 131 per cent year-over-year increase in the amount of properties over £300,000 brought to market, a 47 per cent increase in February and a 12 per cent decrease in March 2015.

We now expect the change to encourage the movement of more affordable properties, with all properties sold for under £333,000 now paying less tax and properties under £145,000 paying no tax all.”