The most significant factor in the Scotland housing market in July was the increase in the number of properties sold.
The Registers of Scotland advises that there were a total of 8,833 property transactions in July. this represents an increase of 1,873 properties, or 27%, over the number sold in June.
Dr Peter Williams, chairman of Acadametrics, said: “Ordinarily we would expect the market to experience an increase of 7% in the number of homes sold in July compared to June – more houses are sold in the peak summer months than at any other time of year – so the increase of 27% in July this year is exceptional. On an annual basis the increase in houses sold in July 2013 compared to July 2012 was 21%. Much of this increase in activity is by first time buyers. According to the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders)
“First-time buyers in Scotland took out 6,500 loans in the second quarter of 2013, up 33% over the same period last year and the largest total in a single quarter since mid-2008”. The CML added that ‘Alongside first-time buyers, lending to home movers increased in the second quarter of 2013 in Scotland. There were 8,100 loans advanced to home movers this quarter which was up by 5% on the second quarter of 2012’.
“This indicates that first time buyers represented 45% of all sales in Scotland in the second quarter of 2013, up from the long term average of 38% of all sales.”
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, part of LSL Property Services, said: “House prices haven’t been increasing in Scotland anything like as quickly as they have in England. But they did rise for the first time in four months in July, which could be the start of a prolonged period of house price increases. Sales have been increasing, and confidence is gradually seeping back into the market. First-time buyer lending in Scotland was at its highest since 2008 in the second quarter of the year, which has driven sales up to their highest level in five years.
“Sales are up 27% compared to June, and first-time buyers are accounting for a much higher proportion of sales than they have done previously. The improvement is down to a significant increase in the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages. Banks are much more willing to extend an olive branch to borrowers with small deposits, which has opened the door to thousands of buyers who were previously locked out of the housing market.
“And the improvement looks as though it should be long-lived. The economy is brightening by the day, and confidence is spreading quickly. Further growth in the market is expected to continue as new buyers are keen to enter the market and potential sellers will start to put their homes up for sale to benefit from rising prices.
“The surge in activity from the bottom end of the market has sparked a revival in the rest of the market. It’s up to the Scottish government to continue to help first-time buyers as they are the key to healthy, long term recovery.”