We are cautiously optimistic that cash-buyers' will help drive recovery in the Scottish property market over the forthcoming year.
We have experienced an increase in the number of prospective purchasers across our network of 12 offices from the North East to the Borders with currently in excess of 4,500 prospective purchasers on our advanced marketing database who are all actively seeking a wide range of properties in Scotland.
Of the 4,500 registered home-seekers, 14 percent are registered as cash buyers' who already have funds in place and are not reliant on selling another property before proceeding with a purchase. This figure is up from the same time last year where only nine percent claimed to be in a similar position.
2009 was a significantly more stable year than anticipated with some much needed confidence returning to the marketplace. We encountered a significant increase in property viewings with over 2,470 separate viewings arranged in the last six months of the year compared to 1,950 for the first six months, an increase of 26 percent.
Of the more sought after properties, the return of the traditional closing date system in the late spring of 2009 was particularly encouraging and highlighted the resilience of the market for problem free houses, in good locations, which were sensibly priced and just as importantly, well presented.
During the year, a number of notable sales were achieved with levels of activity and volumes of sales far higher than the pessimistic projections delivered at the end of 2008.
Understandably, high quality properties at the lower end of the market, below 350,000, proved to be particularly popular. We sold Balcomie Cottage, a delightful cottage in the Speyside village of Aberlour within nine days, and Aytounhill Cottage, a fairy tale' cottage set deep in the woods outside Cupar, Fife, which quickly proceeded to a closing date at which several good offers were received.
Going forward into the year, it is likely that the general market trends established in the second half of 2009 will become more pronounced and embedded.
Given the Home Report, which is now well established and operating to the benefit of the market, combined with the forthcoming general election, widely expected by May, We anticipate that business will be reasonably brisk in the early part of 2010 before a probable lull immediately before and potentially after the eventual chosen date for the election.
Rod Christie from our Elgin office, said: "We are currently experiencing a divided market with general indications that the better quality properties in more sought after locations should continue to sell well whilst other properties, which for whatever reason may not be considered quite as desirable, will take longer.
"Indeed, it may be that momentum and interest for the more desirable properties will increase in the face of a shortage of good quality stock, which in part has been brought about by the new system of Home Reports weeding out all but the most committed of sellers."
George Lorimer from our Cupar office said: "Barring any further major economic disasters, confidence in the residential property market should continue to improve and with that, it is a logical possibility that the prices achieved will start to show positive signs of growth by the end of 2010."
If you would like to talk to any about selling or buying a property then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our residential teams located throughout Scotland.