Scottish housing market ‘could pick up’ this year

There is optimism over the Scottish housing market for 2013. Picture: PA
There is optimism over the Scottish housing market for 2013. Picture: PA
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Early signs that the housing market may pick up later this year have been detected, according to a survey.

Activity across Scotland was broadly stable last month but the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey suggests that both activity and prices could start to increase.

A balance of 10% more chartered surveyors report a rise rather than a fall in predicted sales in the coming months.

Sarah Speirs, director of RICS Scotland, said: “Sales expectations are positive and have been so in every month since the middle of last year, with the sole exception of January when poor weather had a significant impact on the market.

Optimism

“There is a clear belief that we are reaching a point of improvement and optimism. Activity is still well down on its pre-crisis norm. However, it is encouraging to see a longer-term increase predicted for prices across Scotland.”

Meanwhile, more prospective buyers viewed property in March, with a balance of 8% more surveyors reporting rises in new buyer inquiries.

The amount of houses coming onto the market increased in March but at a slower pace than in February. A balance of 14% more surveyors reported rises rather than falls in new instructions.

Commenting on the survey, Chris Hall of Rettie and Co estate agents in Edinburgh said: “The market has shown welcome life in the last two months with transactional volumes well up in preferred districts of Edinburgh and Glasgow, notably flats below £400,000 in value.

“Rural sales are still slower and higher-value sales similarly, but definite signs of optimism in preferred urban locations.”