The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Scotland and Northern Ireland outperform rest of UK housing market

RICS UK Residential Market Survey, January 2015

Scotland and Northern Ireland’s housing market outperformed the rest of the UK in January, with more buyer enquiries, stronger price growth and higher confidence in  outlook, according to the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey. 

[Pictured:Sarah Speirs, Director RICS Scotland,]

While nationally, the number of potential new buyer enquiries fell for the seventh consecutive month, Scotland saw the greatest buyer interest with several respondents suggesting the new Land and Building’s Transaction Tax (LBTT) will prompt more first time buyers to get on the property ladder. 

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s housing market witnessed the strongest price momentum for the fifth consecutive month, with 47% more respondents reporting increases in prices. However, the national results, which are based on England and Wales only, continue to signal a cooling market and price growth has all but levelled off with just 2% more surveyors expecting prices to increase over the next three months (its slowest pace since May 2013). 

Sarah Speirs, Director RICS Scotland, commented: “The changes to Stamp Duty and pending introduction of LBTT in Scotland are, to varying degrees, providing an incentive to first time buyers, but there remain a number of challenges to market, such as ongoing affordability constraints, lack of stock and an air of caution in the run up to the general election. 

“Overall, while the RICS lead indicators suggest the level of housebuilding looks set to increase over the course of 2015, the volume of home starts will still fall considerably short of the number of new households being formed, let alone making a dent in the historic shortfall of housing across all tenures.” 

Within England, London market conditions continue to deteriorate with prices, buyer enquiries and sales falling. The latest data shows 49% more respondents saw prices in the capital decline and the short-term confidence outlook is negative, despite the longer terms sales outlook being more upbeat. 

Thomas Baird MRICS, Select Surveyors Ltd, Glasgow, commented: “We are optimistic that 2015 will show continuing signs of recovery in the residential market and January has already seen a positive number of home report instructions.”

In the lettings market a net balance of 10% more respondents reported a further rise in tenant demand in Scotland during the three months to January, while supply appears to be dipping once again.

Across the UK, despite a month in which mortgage approvals fall to their one of their lowest levels, the number of agreed sales showed a slight increase in January (up from 19.1 to 19.7) and the 12 month member forecast is more optimistic around activity levels with 48% of surveyors still expecting sales to rise.

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