Could this be a more practical perspective of the Scottish Housing Market sector? It’s difficult to manage sellers’ expectations with so many London stats flooding the market. It was encouraging to see that a significant part of the Scottish media noted that, in spite of the fact that costs over the UK have climbed in the past year (up by 3.8%), they had really fallen in Scotland over the same period, by 0.7%. Normal offering costs remain a little more than 2% easier than they were a year back. Selling times, however, shortened significantly and are now back to levels last seen in mid-2008. The normal number of days to offer, according to Mark Horden of GSPC, fell by 30%, down from 131 days at the beginning of 2013 to 91 days today.
There are increasing signs that the market at any rate is stabilising. It is extraordinary, for instance, to see prices climbing in the last quarter of the year. Five out of the past six years, prices have traditionally fallen between the third and fourth quarters of the year. Additionally, the supply of houses available to be purchased fell by 23% throughout 2013 as demand exceeded supply.
Shorter offering times and the decay of stock levels are both vital pointers of activity in the housing market. We would expect to see further improvement in selling times this year as buyer confidence in the property market grows and mortgage lending improves further. The improvement in market conditions should also tempt growing numbers of aspiring movers to put their current property on the market and so provide a new injection of homes for sale.
The recuperation will, notwithstanding, be inconsistent. Some houses, particularly moderate three room family homes, are offering quicker and more effortlessly than others’ eminently bigger four or five bedroom homes. It has been a brisk start to the year and there are whispers of a returning market confidence. Closing dates are beginning to slowly emerge but it is a creep rather than a stampede. Our expectations for 2014 are an increase in transactions, better access to funding and a greater number of properties entering the market. However, we are not anticipating a significant price inflation in house prices and realistic expectations remain crucial in any successful transaction.