Finance

Scotland sees ‘remarkable period of activity’ within property sector



Prime property transactions above £400,000 in Scotland have reached an all-time record, with 8,755 taking place between September 2020 and August 2021 – 75% more than the pre-pandemic three-year average.

The latest data from Savills and TwentyCi showed that overall Scottish transactions during the same period reached 122,412 – the highest level in 13 years.

Prime value annual growth at 8.1% in Scotland was the highest in 11 years, with a record 435 transactions above £1m during the 12 months ending August, including the highest price ever paid for a residential property in Scotland.

Activity in the main cities and suburbs has been on the rise again, as office workers return to the city centres.

The number of agreed sales in Scotland above £500,000 during October was 38% higher than the average for the same month between 2017 and 2019.

But despite rising in buyer confidence – following the vaccination programme and relaxation of lockdown rules – there is a shrinking pool of stock, with 22% fewer properties advertised.

The number of new buyers registering with Savills to buy a Scottish property was 61% higher in October than two years ago, meaning well-priced properties are selling almost as quickly as they become available in the most sought-after markets.

Faisal Choudhry, head of residential research at Savills Scotland, said: “Looking ahead, with a continuation of hybrid working patterns and changing buyer requirements, there is still a relatively strong core of unsatisfied demand, with a net balance of +16% of respondents to our September survey of buyers and sellers indicating more commitment to moving at some point in the next 24 months.

“The ongoing supply/demand imbalance underpins our forecast of 4% annual growth in prime and mainstream Scottish values next year.

“But the increased cost of living and gradually rising interest rates are expected to temper medium term prospects of price growth, as buyers’ spending power is gradually reduced.”

In Edinburgh, fierce competition for family homes led to an 8.3% annual rise in prime values.

Choudhry said: “While the popular inner suburbs of Grange, Morningside and Merchiston remain very buoyant, Inverleith, Stockbridge and Trinity were the standout locations, with 92% more prime transactions than the pre-pandemic average.

“New build developments have also supported growth in Edinburgh’s surrounding enclaves: prime activity was strongest in Linlithgow in West Lothian and East Lothian’s coastal areas of North Berwick, Gullane, Dunbar and Aberlady.”

The capital recorded 251 transactions above £1m, including six of Scotland’s nine sales above £3m.

This includes the highest price ever paid for a residential property in Scotland – a seven bedroom home in The Grange – a price record that has stood for 14 years.

Meanwhile, there were a record 713 prime transactions in the city area of Glasgow.

Choudhry commented: “A surge in housing market activity in and around Glasgow was led by the West End, Park and Jordanhill, with a rise in demand for family homes in Pollokshields and Newlands.

“Outside the city, new build sales boosted prime market growth in Newton Mearns, Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs, while a strong second-hand market has supported Bearsden, Kilmacolm and Giffnock.”

There were a record 34 transactions valued at more than £1m during the last year, mostly in the West End and Park Areas. Here, Kingsborough Gardens and Park Circus recorded nine transactions between them.

In the suburbs, the sought-after Whitecraigs area of Giffnock dominated million pound activity in East Renfrewshire. In the north however, a lack of supply has limited top-end activity in Bearsden and Milngavie.

Aberdeen and surrounding areas are witnessing their best prime transactional markets since the oil and gas led housing market downturn.

Growth was led by the second-hand and new build markets in the popular AB15 postcode and areas within easy reach of the city, including Inverurie, Banchory and Stonehaven.

Although stock levels continue to reduce, Savills stated that the market remains price sensitive. The Aberdeen area saw 14 top-end transactions in the 12 months ending August 2021 – the highest annual number for this time period since 2015.

Dundee’s record prime transactional market was led not only by the traditional hotspot of Broughty Ferry, but also in the west of the city in neighbourhoods around Ninewells Hospital and peripheral new build developments, spilling out into the villages of Liff, Piperdam and Auchterhouse.

Stirlingshire, Perthshire and Fife saw 40 transactions above £1m over the last year, spread over a number of towns and villages. While St Andrews dominates Fife, there was a rise in Elie and Earlsferry.

Perthshire saw top-end sales in Strathtay, Comrie and Gleneagles, whereas Bridge of Allan, Dunblane and Strathblane contributed to Stirlingshire’s share of the Heartland’s million pound market.

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