Scots house sales set to slump over the summer

The Scottish housing market is set for a summer slump as sales levels drop off and prices fall, a report claims.

The traditional spring bounce was short-lived this year, according to the monthly housing market update published today by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) Scotland.

The organisation said its members are increasingly downbeat over the outlook for the coming months. More than three-quarters of Scottish surveyors reported that house prices were unchanged in May, while 13 per cent said they had fallen, compared with just 4 per cent who reported a drop in April.

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May saw an increase in the number of homes for sale and in the number of potential buyers enquiring about properties in Scotland, whereas buyer demand fell elsewhere in the UK. But the pace of the increase was slower than in April, while the rise in sales levels also dropped.

This mirrors the latest figures from the Edinburgh Solicitors' Property Centre (ESPC), which last week said house prices in the capital and surrounding area fell to the lowest level since 2009 in the three months to May. The average cost of a home in Edinburgh was down 4.4 per cent compared with the same period last year, with prices down 10.5 per cent in the city centre.

Like Rics Scotland, ESPC noted a recent rise in the number of homes going up for sale, adding to the downward pressure on prices. Graeme Hartley, director of Rics Scotland, said: "There is still activity in the market but the spring bounce has been and gone and surveyors are reporting problems at the lower end of the market because first time buyers are struggling to get finance and raise deposits."