Scots housing market set for surge after lockdown

Scotland’s property market is set for a revival this week as it emerges from lockdown, experts have predicted.

Estate agents are forecasting a record month for sales in July, eclipsing the 10,352 properties sold in July 2018.

The Bank of Scotland reported a 75 per cent jump in online mortgage applications in the last week alone, and a 470 per cent surge in people seeking a lending appointment.

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Transactions stalled in March at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic when lockdown was imposed. Figures from Registers of Scotland show that in the whole of April, just 103 housing sales were recorded, compared with 5,765 in March and 6,287 in February.

From today, viewers are once more allowed to visit properties, although they will be expected to adhere to social distancing rules and may find estate agents wearing PPE.

Cameron Ewer, of Savills Residential in Scotland, said: “It is important to highlight that sales activity hasn’t stood still during lockdown. Deals have been agreed, viewings and valuations have continued remotely and there has been overwhelming desire to get on with things.

“Since lockdown measures were eased in England a couple of weeks ago, Savills viewings have increased by 28 per cent and inquiries by 58 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

“Prior to the pandemic, Scotland had seen record market activity and the market here is set to reopen with a similar bang this week, with pent-up demand already outstripping supply.”

Savills said inquiries from London about property in Scotland jumped 71 per cent, with prospective buyers looking for home offices and gardens in particular. In Scotland, outdoor space is also at the top of buyers’ wish lists.

Kevin Maley, head of residential agency for Strutt & Parker in Scotland, said: “We have a long list of people waiting to see houses. It is clear at this stage that there is a lot of pent-up demand, with some properties having several people waiting to see them.

“Our offices have seen a pronounced increase in enquiries about homes in the country.”

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Graham Blair, mortgages director at Bank of Scotland, said: “With the housing market slowing in the last few months, it has left many people at a loose end, whether that involved delaying plans to buy, extending rental agreements, or having to move in with relatives or friends.

“As Scottish estate agents look to reopen their doors, we are seeing an increase in mortgage applications and new lending appointments as more people want to get ­moving.”

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