In spite of the current huge uncertainty over the course of Brexit, and the economic insecurity that it is bringing, a recent report into the Scottish Housing market appears to show it resisting well the presumably constant downward pressure. Recent figures produced by Aberdein Considine in their regular property report, which is an often cited snapshot of the housing market, suggest a surprisingly positive picture.
In the first quarter of 2019 sales were up 2.3% on 2018 and a full 7% on 2016 – the year of the EU referendum. Despite a slowdown in the increase of growth, it is also clear price growth does continue with the average price now 8.6% higher than 2016. The volume of sales, the state of the lettings market, and the rate of sales, are all similarly seeing generally positive trends. Rather than seeing the market stall the figures are being seen by many as an example of Scottish owners and businesses continuing to plan ahead in spite of the lack of any clear political direction.
Whatever the truth behind the figures however, and whilst the continuing general upward trend shows the resilience of the housing market in the face of these challenges, one feature of the current position appears to be a continuing range of regional variations. In particular falls in urban areas are being offset by rural price rises. Despite still being the most expensive area to own a home, Edinburgh has seen prices fall by 1% on the previous year. Similarly Glasgow has experienced a 1.7% fall and Aberdeen 0.5%. Bucking the trend however is Dundee with a 9.9% growth. As against this however, the Lothians, Perth and Kinross, and many of the Glasgow suburbs show a strong upward trend.
Another guide to the fluidity of the market is the total price of properties sold in each region where Edinburgh and Aberdeen are again all experiencing drops, and yet West Lothian has reported an increase in total value of nearly 20% since the previous quarter and East Lothian an impressive 38%. The report also points with surprise to increases of 24.1% in West Dunbartonshire, and 12.8% in Shetland. Whilst the position in the highlands and islands is a separate grouping, the recent figures are causing people to point to a shift away from the urban market to commuter towns.
Although the report openly states that it had anticipated having to confirm the grinding of the domestic property market to an uncertain halt, the opposite appears to be the overall general trend. Buyers, sellers and investors need to be keenly aware of regional variations, but whilst the continuing uncertainties continue to play a factor it is not proving to be as great as people may have anticipated.