Scotland business

Further recovery in housing market

The Scottish housing market has shown further signs of recovery, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Its Residential Market Survey said house prices continued to rise last month.

And demand for new properties was sustained, according to respondents to the survey.

The report said 16% more chartered surveyors reported that prices rose rather than fell.

RICS said there was a strongly positive balance in the number of its Scottish members last month reporting a rise in buyer interest, with a gap of 59 percentage points.

There was an even stronger positive balance, of 68 points, between those reporting more newly-agreed sales and those saying they were down.

More surveyors said prices rose than those saying they fell, but by a margin of only 16 points.

There was growing expectation of price rises through this summer, with a 31 percentage gap to the positive.

RICS said the signs of a start to recovery in the housing market were partly explained by moves to increase the supply of finance through banks.

It also reported signs of growing demand for rental properties.

'Relatively buoyant'

Sarah Spiers, director of RICS Scotland, said: "We are finally starting to see what looks like the beginning of a recovery in the housing market, with a rise in newly agreed sales.

"It is important to remember that activity levels still remain depressed by historic standards but the various initiatives designed to encourage the provision of finance into the market do appear to be paying dividends.

"Despite the continued interest in buying a property, figures continue to show that demand from would-be tenants remains firm and that rents are likely to continue to edge upwards over the next twelve months".

Peter McEachran, of Graham & Sibbald surveyors in Renfrewshire, commented: "There are distinct signs of an improvement in market conditions. Houses are now selling within three months of going on the market, some with closing dates. The general mood is more optimistic than before and this bodes well for the rest of the year."

Chris Highton, of Allied Surveyors Scotland in Edinburgh, said: "The market seems to be continuing to improve, although there remain pockets of poorer performing areas.

"Generally, the market appears relatively buoyant compared to the last few years and selling times are also reducing, albeit for the good offerings."

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