House sales on par with pre-recession level

The number of properties sold in Scotland rocketed by 18.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year, returning to levels not seen since before the recession.

The number of properties sold in Scotland has increased in the first quarter of this year Picture: Jane Barlow

Official figures from Registers of Scotland (Ros) showed that a total of 19,802 properties changed hands between January and March, the highest volume of sales for these months since the 2007 to 2008 financial year.

The figures come just weeks after property experts warned that parts of Scotland were experiencing a crisis in the demand and supply of properties on the market. Estate agents warned that prices could rocket as the number of homes coming up for sale continued to fall behind the number of house hunters in the market.

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The total value of sales across Scotland increased by 8.3 per cent compared to the previous year to just over £3.15 billion. Edinburgh recorded the largest market, with sales of over £554.6 million for the quarter, up 3.3 per cent. Midlothian recorded the highest increase in value, with sales of over £63m, an increase of 56.5 per cent compared with the same quarter last year.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen City, hit by the crisis in the oil industry, showed the largest decrease in market value, down 22.7 per cent to £162.7m.

Kenny Crawford, RoS’ director of commercial services, said: “We’ve seen a sustained increase in the volume of sales throughout the 2015-16 financial year. While volumes are up this quarter, prices are down by 8.4 per cent compared to the previous year, bringing the average price to £159,198.

“This time last year, we saw a spike in house prices, with an increase in the number of high value property sales. By comparison, this year has seen an increase in the volume of lower value properties being sold, which may account for this year’s lower average price. Future sales statistics will determine whether this is a one-off decrease, or whether this is a trend that will continue.”

East Renfrewshire recorded the highest average property price at £222,303, down 7.9 per cent on last year. The largest percentage rise was seen in North Lanarkshire, where the average property price rose 6.6 per cent to £116,738. The highest percentage fall was recorded in East Lothian, with an average price of £207,276, a fall of 16.5 per cent on last year.

All property types showed an increase in sales volumes, with flats showing the biggest increase at 24.2 per cent. They also all showed a decrease in average price this quarter, with detached properties showing the biggest decrease, down 11.6 per cent to £236,249. Semi-detached, terraced, and flatted properties showed price decreases of 8.5 per cent, 10.5 per cent, and 7.4 per cent respectively.