(Image - Balhomie House in Perthshire, sold well through Galbraith)
Scotland’s property market is currently one of the most resilient in the UK, with data from Onthemarket.com indicating that buyer and seller sentiment is very good – 70 per cent of sellers were confident that they would sell their property within the next 3 months in Scotland, compared with 61 per cent nationally. At the same time 77 per cent of Scottish buyers were confident that they would purchase a property within the next 3 months, compared with a national average of 74 per cent.
During September 2023, Scotland was in fact the fastest selling region, with 60 per cent of homes sold subject to concluded missives within 30 days of first being listed for sale. This compares very favourably with the UK average of 37 per cent.
In the premium and rural property sector, while we are not seeing the prices significantly in excess of asking price and super-fast transactions of the pandemic years (the most frenzied period of activity I’ve seen in my two decades in the industry), nevertheless we are still seeing a steady volume of transactions and some good sales being achieved, as has been the case throughout 2023.
Relative to other parts of the UK, Scotland offers a superb lifestyle, including beautiful natural scenery, a good work-life balance and outstanding value for money, with an average price of £271,436 in rural areas of Scotland, compared with £420,059 in the UK as a whole (excluding greater London).
These advantages continue to attract sellers from within Scotland, the UK as a whole and further afield. The continued trend for home-working has allowed areas that were once considered remote or beyond an acceptable commuting distance, to be considered by a wider pool of buyers. This offers benefits for the Scottish property market perhaps more than any other part of the country.
My advice to sellers is to always focus on pragmatic pricing, in line with the Home Report value and the agent’s advice. In my experience an unrealistic price expectation at the outset will lead to a longer sales process and the potential for frustration on all sides. Recent data from property portals indicates that properties that have price reductions take three times as long to sell as their counterparts.
Lenders are now feeling more confident too and there are a greater variety of mortgage products now coming to the market. The ability to secure a longer-term fixed mortgage facility offers greater certainty to buyers and will be welcome.
The Bank of England has again held interest rates at 5.25%, which will be welcomed by all in the industry, as some stability and normality returns.
The property market has become far less seasonal compared with ten or even five years ago, with sustained activity even during the traditionally quiet winter months. My children will remind me that it is now only about seven weeks to Christmas so anyone hoping to find a new home in time for the new year, should start the process and bring their property to the market now, bearing in mind that the peak period for searches on property portals is often on Boxing Day.