Games and independence stall Glasgow house prices

GROWTH in the property market in Glasgow and the west of Scotland was stalled over the summer by events such as the Commonwealth Games and the referendum, experts have claimed.

Estate agent billboards are displayed in the West End of Glasgow. Picture: PA

New figures showed that selling times stalled with little change in prices over the last three months, despite green shoots earlier in the year. However, home buyers can still expect to pay 8.6 per cent - an average of £10,000 - more than they were at this time last year, although they are still 11 per cent lower than their 2007 peak.

The report, by the Glasgow Solicitors’ Property Centre (GSPC), found that the average time a property spends on the market remained virtually unchanged on the same time last year and actually rose by 20 days compared to the previous quarter.

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However, experts said that the slowdown was due to consumers being distracted from moving home by issues such as the Games and the independence debate.

“The traditional summer slowdown was exacerbated this year by a fabulous Commonwealth Games which caught the imagination of the entire city and by the increasingly tense build-up to the referendum on independence which triggered widespread engagement regardless of location or occupation,” said GSPC chief executive, Mark Hordern. “In both cases, the prospect of moving home ceased to be the highest priority for many, leading to a slowdown in both new instructions and sales.”

He added: “There are some early indicators that activity levels are now recovering and the prospect that many would-be movers who put their move on hold will now look to make up for lost time.”

Professor Gwilym Pryce, director of the Sheffield Methods Institute at Sheffield University, who analysed GSPC’s sales data, said: “Looking at the year as a whole, we have seen tangible signs of a housing market recovery, particularly in Glasgow, but the latest results from GSPC house price data largely reflects the strong growth in quarter two rather than a summer boom. House price changes from quarter to quarter can fluctuate considerably in any event, so the results for last quarter are not necessarily the start of a trend. “But if the summer dip in some areas was due to referendum uncertainty, we should see those markets rally in the fourth quarter.”

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, where previous reports have shown that the housing market has experienced strong growth in both prices and activity levels, estate agents have reported a strong post-referendum “bounce”.

“The reality of the matter is that there were some people sitting on their hands, waiting to see what the result of the referendum was before making a decision about buying or selling their property,” said Robert Carroll, managing director of Mov8. “The big question was how big a proportion of property buyers and sellers that represented.

“That ‘bounce’ has continued for the past few days and into this week, although the number of people telling us that they have been waiting for the Referendum result before committing to selling is dwindling.”