The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Growth in housebuyer numbers slips as market demand dies down in Scotland

RICS UK Residential Market Survey, February 2014

The continuing increase in would-be buyers in Scotland eased off to the lowest point in almost a year during February, as the initial demand from those previously shut out of the property market started to relent, says the RICS February Residential Market Survey.

Last month, buyer numbers increased at their slowest rate since April 2013, with a net balance of 24 percent of chartered surveyors reporting a growth in new buyer enquiries. It seems that the initial surge in demand, driven by the more accessible housing market, has started to slowly level off. Once more, the amount of homes coming up for sale failed to substantially pick up, and, although buyer demand is gradually starting to slacken, supply is still falling well short of required levels. 

Sarah Speirs, Director RICS Scotland commented: “The growth in buyer numbers that we’ve seen for some months started to slow down in February, as the surge in interest sparked towards the end of last summer began to level off. While this does not mean an end to the increasing activity we’ve been seeing recently, it does suggest that the pent up demand generated throughout the downturn is gradually exhausting itself. 

“The ongoing issue that we are facing, however, is the lack of homes coming onto the market. While it is true that more houses are being built, supply is simply not enough to satisfy demand. As a result, prices are likely to continue to move higher making it ever harder for people to take an initial step onto the property ladder.” 

Moving on to prices, the cost of a home in Scotland continued to rise during February, with 45 percent more chartered surveyors reporting prices rising rather than falling. The cost of a home has now risen across Scotland for ten consecutive months. 

Adrian Stott MRICS, J and E Shepherd, East Lothian commented: “The volume of transactions has been increasing and prices remain fairly stable. However, the lack of new supply is still an issue and is having an impact on the market.”

Looking ahead, respondents predict both prices and transaction levels to continue to increase as we enter the summer months when the market traditionally starts to pick up. 

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