Sense of cautious optimism surrounds house sales

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The UK housing market is expected to pick up next year, according to an industry forecast.

Any slight improvements in the economy will be reflected in the housing market, with an increase in the number of sales, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has said.

The number of transactions is predicted to increase by 4 per cent, from 74,000 this year to 77,000. This is in contrast to the pre-crisis year of 2007, when total sales in Scotland were
almost double, at 148,000.

Despite the slight increase in sales, house prices are expected to remain the same over the next 12 months.

Sarah Speirs, director of Rics Scotland, said: “The average house price in Scotland looks set to remain close to current levels throughout 2013, reflecting in part the uncertain outlook for the economy.

“More positively, the amount of sales going through should see an increase across the country, climbing to its best level since 2008 as lenders look to gradually increase the availability of mortgage finance.

“But these tentative signs of recovery in the sales market should not blind us to the very real problems that still exist.

“Even with government policies beginning to be felt in the mortgage market, many first-time buyers will continue
to find it difficult to secure a sufficiently large loan to take an
initial step on the housing