The latest RICS Residential Market Survey is out and the survey headlines proclaim renewed positivity with increasing new instructions and new buyer enquiries.
However, from a Scottish point of view it is important to read between the lines. The stats north of the border do not feed into these headlines and if you dig a little deeper, those figures paint a somewhat different story.
The results in February for Scotland can be summarised as follows:
- Agreed sales figure is below the previous 3 month average
- New buyer enquiries is again below the previous 3 month average
- Price expectations for the next three months is below the previous three month average
- Sales expectations for the next three months is below the previous three month average
So what does this tell us? Firstly, confidence in the market has not yet fully kick started throughout Scotland. This could be for a number of reasons but maybe the biggest is election fever. 2016 is a big year with both the Scottish Election and European Referendum taking place in the first half of this year. As we saw with the Independence debate last year, it might be another case of let’s wait and let the dust settle.
Of course, another big issue that is being faced across the majority of the housing market in Scotland is lack of supply. With the country creeping towards a sellers’ market, it is a good time to be a seller as you can expect a reasonable price for your property and to sell in good time, but the question many people are asking is what can I buy in return!
Overall, the devil is in the detail. While we all get drawn into attention grabbing headlines, the Scottish housing market is still very much steady as she goes and looking forward, once the dust settles on the introduction of the surcharge on buy-to-let properties and second homes and the results of the elections are established, I would expect confidence to pick up in the second half of the year and equilibrium in the market start to return.
Managing Partner, DM Hall