Comment: Scots property market back to ‘97 levels

THE Scottish Property Market is set to see levels of activity similar to the highs of 1997 according to Peter Grant, CEO and Chairman at Grant Property.

Edinburgh from Corstorphine Hill. Picture: TSPL

Speaking ahead of a three week tour of the Far and Middle East to meet with potential investors, Peter told of his optimism for the property market.

“When I started Grant Property Management back in 1997 there was a significant amount of buying activity and I firmly believe we are set to see the same again.

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“The property market has made real progress over the last year with prices rising an average of three per cent across the country so things are looking positive. Too often, investors are unable to look past London but I believe the Scottish property market is poised to delivery some very attractive returns in 2014.

“There has been a particularly high level of buying activity in Edinburgh and Glasgow, two the main cities in which we operate, due to their world renowned universities. That said, we’re seeing encouraging numbers across the whole of Scotland. Dundee, Aberdeen and Stirling are all performing well. Grant Property experienced a 45% sales increase between 2012 and 2013 and I’d hope to see a similar rise this year - I certainly think it’s achievable in the current market.”

Government initiatives

Peter believes that buyer confidence has returned. He explains, “There are more ways to get on the property ladder than there have been in recent years. Government initiatives such as ‘Help to Buy’ aren’t something that directly impact on our clients but they do help to stimulate the market so I look on them as a positive thing.

“Banks are lending more freely than in previous years and that’s encouraging market growth. As a result, competition for property is hotter than I’ve ever seen it. Grant Property was recently looking to secure a flat in Edinburgh where 25 people had registered their interest to buy. Typically, five potential buyers would be considered high so that level of interest is incredible and just shows how great the demand is for property at the moment.”

Peter believes that 2014 is the year to invest in property: “Increasingly, consumers are starting to realise that property investment can be a valuable addition to their long term financial plans. Rates on savings accounts at the banks still aren’t great and property investment is becoming a central component of saving strategies. We deal a lot with the student market and we’re seeing students who are looking to secure flats months ahead of term starting, in some cases almost a year in advance. Demand is certainly very high with our stock almost fully let, and that is almost seven months ahead of term. This makes the student market highly lucrative and an attractive investment option for those with the money to buy.

“I believe that investment yields are set to increase in 2014 too. Last year, we typically saw seven per cent returns on a property but I think in the right areas we’ll see upwards of 10 per cent, such is my confidence in the market just now. One thing I constantly hear clients say is they wish they’d bought sooner so my one piece of advice to anyone who’s thinking about investing in property in 2014 is act now before it’s too late.