Scottish independence: House price rises sustained

AVERAGE house prices in Scotland are growing at the longest sustained rate for four years, according to a report.

The referendum could "potentially upset the apple cart" of house price growth. Picture: Ian Rutherford

An average price of £161,402 was recorded in April, marking an eighth consecutive month of growth.

The latest statistics suggest the recovery of the housing market in Scotland is not being affected by the independence debate, the report said.

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The figures were contained in the house price index for April from LSL Property Services and Acadata.

It said the referendum could “potentially upset the apple cart” of house price growth, but there was no sign of any buyers delaying purchases.

It found the average house price for that month was up 0.3 per cent on March’s level and up 4 per cent when compared to April 2013.

Overall, average prices north of the border are up £6,250 in a year.

Gordon Fowlis, regional managing director of Your Move, an estate agency chain that is part of LSL, said: “April marks the eighth successive month that house prices have risen in Scotland, the longest run of monthly gains witnessed for four years.

“One thing that could potentially upset the apple cart is the independence vote, having passed the 100-day milestone, kick-starting the countdown. While the Yes and No campaigns debate which outcome will leave households financially better off, many are already feeling the purse strings loosen.

“The starting gun may have gone off for the official campaign period, but the forthcoming independence referendum has not prompted potential home buyers into delaying their purchase decisions.

“Any uncertainty surrounding the fiscal, taxation or currency implications of an independent Scotland have not dented the confidence of homebuyers - in fact areas such as Stirling have seen sales soar by 52 per cent over the last 12 months.

“The steep increase in the sale of properties during March and April is 10 per cent above the usual seasonal trend. While transactions may be starting to cool south of the border, there are no indications of a sales slowdown in Scotland.”

East Renfrewshire is the most expensive area to buy property, with an annual price rise of 15.1 per cent taking the average price to a new record of £236,463.

Further investment in the Help to Buy scheme should allow more first-time buyers to move into the market and sustain growth, Mr Fowlis added.