Scotland's housing market continues to rise after strong December

HOUSE prices and sales look set to keep rising in the first quarter of this year following an 'unusually buoyant' December for the market, according to a new report

Housing market on the up

Rising demand from would-be buyers and a slight increase in the number of properties coming onto the market led to a rise in newly-agreed sales last month, a survey found.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Scotland said its members expect the trend to continue in the short-term at least.

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Its study comes a day after another report - the Your Move/Acadata Scotland house price index - found house prices in November grew at twice the rate in England and Wales, adding £45 a day to the value of the average home.

The RICS UK residential market survey for December found that a net balance of 35% of the Scottish surveyors quizzed forecast a rise in transactions in the January-to-March period.

A total net balance of 24% of surveyors also expect average prices to increase this quarter.

But RICS warned supply is still failing to meet demand across the housing market.

Sarah Speirs, director of RICS in Scotland, said: “The Scottish housing market has experienced an unusually buoyant December, with growth in transactions, demand and a small increase in properties coming onto the market.

“Despite this growth in new instructions, the chronic shortage of housing supply in Scotland continues to result in rising house prices and rents across the country.

“To remedy the shortage, Scottish Government policy is, and for a considerable amount of time has been, aimed at supporting demand and, more crucially, the new-build market and home ownership.”

Throughout 2015, surveyors reported almost continual growth in prices and this went on into December, with a net balance of 29% more respondents reporting a rise in house prices.

Graeme Lusk of, Graham and Sibbald in Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, told the survey it had been “a very good December for new instructions as vendors got their houses on the market ahead of the new year”.

“I am anticipating the market to continue to improve throughout 2016,” he added.

Richard Clowes, of DM Hall in the Borders, said: “The market in December continued to perform well with agents reporting reasonable levels of interest in properties during the month.”

RICS recently launched a document - Shaping Scotland’s Housing Future - which aims to inform political parties of the role property plays in driving Scotland’s economic growth ahead of the Scottish parliamentary elections in May.

“The recommendations within this report focus primarily on vital methods of increasing supply and maintaining existing housing stock to provide a robust, sustainable approach to address Scotland’s current housing market needs,” Ms Speirs added.