The latest Rettie & Co. Residential Market Quarterly, the most authoritative summary of conditions in the Scottish residential property market, has now been produced.
This issue looks back at the residential market over 2014, across all sectors of the market, and looks forward to 2015 and beyond.
Quarterly Key findings include:
• 2014 witnessed more durable recovery in the Scottish residential property market. For the whole of Scotland, residential sales are up 9% on the previous year. The recent churn of sales has nudged average prices upwards, increasing by 5% in the past year to over £170,000.
• Rettie & Co forecast that prices will rise by just under 30% in the next 5 years, with transaction numbers up by around 60%.
• The strength of recovery, however, is not equally felt and some markets are burning brighter than others. Sales volume levels are only now climbing back to where the market was pre-recession. The economic recession has put the clock back ten years on the housing market and in Scotland today market turnover stands at 2004 levels.
• The policy landscape in 2014 has added a level of uncertainty. Notably, the Independence Referendum in September stalled the market and changes to Stamp Duty will likely influence sales and investment in prime property in the run up to April 2015. The new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) will stoke the first-time buyer market and there might well be a race to conclude sales at the top end of the market before the new tax levels bite.
• The news from our rural offices is mixed – sales have been slow, but prices stable.
• The Scottish new build market appears to have hit its bottom in 2013 and, in 2014, is finally on the rise, with increases in both starts and completions. 2014 marks the first time since the recession that new build starts have outpaced completions. Sustained recovery going forward seems promising.
• The land and development market has returned strongly post Referendum, but with a hint of caution. Land values for standard housing surrounding economically active cities are strong, but land values in other areas are potentially showing signs of levelling off.
• Rents are rising above inflation as demand continues to outstrip supply in key rental markets. Demand for rental property has remained high throughout 2014 and shows no sign of easing up. However, over the medium- to long-term, rent rises are still below inflation and below rises in social rents.
• There have been a limited number of quality farms and estates on the market in the last year. The east is continuing to outperform the west in farmland. There are significant market uncertainties here around Land Reform and Right to Buy.
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Dr John Boyle, Director of Research & Strategy, commented, “If 2013 was the year that the housing market turned the corner, 2014 saw a continuation in recovery conditions, although the market is still much reduced in terms of activity levels than it was 7 years ago. The fundamentals continue to look strong with improving levels of economic growth, less restricted lending and improving consumer sentiment, which sit behind our growth forecasts. However, there is also much uncertainty about the nature of political change.”
Simon Rettie, Managing Director, commented, “Political uncertainties, interacting with a fledgling economic recovery, has produced mixed results for the Scottish residential property market. We have seen that, on the whole, residential sales are rising, but not uniformly across markets. For a sustained recovery, we need the return of market confidence, boosting sales and prices to follow suit.”