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Strong Demand Drives Price Rises In Scottish Property Market

Scotland’s property market is witnessing exceptionally strong demand and motivated buyers, leading to an average annual price rise of 12.5%, according to property consultancy Galbraith.  Sales have increased by 14.6% compared with pre-pandemic levels.

The firm’s sales data for the first half of 2021 show pockets of intense competition for the most attractive properties, fuelled by the demand for more space and a better work-life balance. The easy availability of mortgages and the current very low interest rates have boosted the market further.

The most sought-after regions are Moray, Dumfries & Galloway, the Scottish Borders and Perthshire. 

The number of viewings arranged by Galbraith has increased by 23.3% year on year and the average time taken to sell has reduced by 25.2%.

Simon Brown, head of residential agency for Galbraith, said:

The market is characterised by very strong demand in most part of the country, with intense competition between buyers for the most attractive properties and many homes being sold at a closing date. 

In recent weeks the supply of property coming to the market has been restricted, partly due to the traditional dip in transactions over the summer holiday period. We expect stock to increase again in the autumn.

Although the figure for annual house price growth is notable, Scotland has not experienced dramatic price growth compared with the rest of the UK over the past decade and tends to enjoy greater market stability. This rise follows several years of relatively modest price increases.

Regional trends of note this quarter include:

  • Moray 

Sales have increased by 77 per cent compared with the pre-pandemic level. Properties which are selling well in Moray this quarter tend to be modern properties, and those which have been recently refurbished. Very strong demand from buyers. One property, which went under offer after just ten days on the market, sold for 31.5 per cent more than the price it achieved when it was last sold five years ago.

  • Ayrshire

Exceptionally good demand and interest in the majority of properties coming to the market. On average properties are attracting dozens of viewings and will often sell at a closing date. Even areas that would have been described in the past as less accessible, due to their longer commute times to Glasgow or Ayr for example, are now proving more popular. It is not clear if this will remain the case in the longer-term, however. The market is characterised by an acute lack of stock.

  • Edinburgh 

Prices in Edinburgh are at a 10-year high. Very limited supply despite the exceptionally strong demand across all price bands. Four of those who made an offer on the most recent house sold by Galbraith in Edinburgh did so without ever having been to the property in person – a further testament to the strength of demand.

  • Scottish Borders

Very much a seller’s market at the moment in the Scottish Borders. Sales have increased by 38 per cent compared with the pre-pandemic level. The supply of property being brought to market is restricted, so almost everything that is for sale generates a high level of interest and often there will be a closing date for submission of offers. Some properties have sold at a price above expectations over the past few months, particularly unusual houses and period cottages. 

  • Dumfries & Galloway

Sales have increased by 130 per cent compared with the pre-pandemic level. Prices achieved in the region continue to exceed client and agency expectations. Historically, property prices in Wigtownshire and the Mull of Galloway have been a few percentage points lower than areas in the centre and the east of the county, but strong competition has driven up prices this past quarter. Dumfries & Galloway continues to offer great value for money in comparison to the rest of Scotland. The ability to work from home has persuaded some people to relocate to Dumfries & Galloway from the central belt.

  • Aberdeen

Very high levels of activity in the Aberdeenshire property market with sellers and buyers alike having great confidence in the market. Prices are relatively high, with large premiums being paid for particularly attractive properties, mainly detached, in a rural location and particularly those with land in the £250,000 - £350,000 price band. 

Galbraith currently has in excess of 4,500 prospective purchasers on its advanced marketing database who are all actively house hunting.

Of the 4,500 active buyers, 44.6 per cent are registered as ‘cash buyers’ who already have funds in place and are not reliant on selling another property before proceeding with a purchase. These cash buyers, often preferred by sellers, also drive growth in the market overall, by enabling faster completion of a sale.

Galbraith handles the sale of properties valued at £55.4 million on average per quarter across its network of 13 offices in Scotland and the north of England.