RICS: Scottish housing market subdued but prices hold up
House prices in Scotland continued to hold up in November, despite ongoing uncertainty and a subdued picture regarding activity, according to the monthly Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey.
A net balance of +12% of respondents to the latest survey said that house prices rose, which is the joint lowest reading in Scotland since July 2016 but is above the current UK average of -8%.
Scottish surveyors are also more optimistic about the short-term outlook for prices than elsewhere in the UK, with a net balance of +24% of respondents in Scotland expecting prices to increase during the three months ahead. (The UK net balance is zero.)
Regarding activity, whilst newly agreed sales edged upwards from low levels in October, enquiries from potential buyers in Scotland were reported to have fallen during November for the third month in succession (a net balance of -4%).
Surveyors in Scotland also saw lower numbers of properties coming onto the market, with a net balance of -16% for new instructions to sell.
Anecdotally, surveyors say that Brexit and the General Election have seen the market slow.
With a lack of properties becoming available for sale, Scottish respondents are cautious about the outlook for sales activity in the short-term, with just 3% more surveyors expecting sales volumes to increase in the three months ahead.
The long-term outlook for sales activity is more positive though, with a net of +50% of Scottish respondents expecting sales activity to be higher in 12 months’ time. A net balance of +63% of Scottish respondents expects house prices to be higher in a year than at present. (The UK net balance for 12-month price expectations is +33%.)
Jack McKinney FRICS of Galbraith & Lawson in Glasgow, said: “The market is currently slow and made worse by the political situation and the time of year”.
Ian Morton MRICS of Bradburne & Co in St Andrews, added: “The General Election has stagnated the market in addition to the traditional slowdown at this time of year. We are preparing for 2020.”
Alex Inglis MRICS Galbraith Group, based in the Scottish Borders, said: “The phones have been quieter in the run-up to the General Election and Christmas. However, there are still buyers around and we actually agreed more sales in November than we did in October.”