Property market in Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK

Official figures confirm that the property market in Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK with annual price growth of 5.6% in the 12 months to April 2018 and monthly growth of 2.5%.

Over the same period annual price growth in England was 3.7% and in Wales it was 4.4%, according to the data from the Land Registry. Month on month prices rose 1.1% in England and 1.6% in Wales.

This takes the average price of a home to £148,952 in Scotland, £156,495 in Wales and £243,639 in England. While in London the average price is now £484,584, up just 1% year on year but up 2.4% month on month.

On a regional basis there is a considerable variation in month on month growth, led by a rise of 4.2% in the North East of England to an average of £130,489, followed by 2.4% in London. Prices edged up 1.8% in the South West to £225,207 and by 1.4% in Yorkshire and Humber to £158,545.

Month on month prices increased by 1.3% in the East Midlands to £186,480, by 0.9% in the South East to £324,530 and by 0.8% in the West Midlands to £192,090. They were unchanged in the North West at £155,868 and fell by 0.8% in the East of England to £286,447.

Sales are also falling, according to the most up to date figures, down by 15.4% in February 2018 compared with the same month in 2017. This follows a 6.5% fall in January year on year.

Sales are also down substantially in London with a fall of 23.9% over the same period while in Wales transactions fell by 8.6%. In Scotland sales fell by 10% in the first quarter of 2018 year on year.

The index also shows that in England first time buyers are paying 3.5% more than they were in April 2017 and 1.2% more than in March 2018. The average cost of a first time buyer home was £204,677 but this rises to £424,029 in London.

In Wales first time buyers are paying 4.7% more than in April 2017 with the average cost of a home in this sector being £135,641 and month on month they are paying 2.2% more. While in Scotland they are paying 5.7% more than April last year and 3.2% more month on month at £120,912.

It is clear that rising housing prices are affecting first time buyers. Kevin Roberts, director of the Legal & General Mortgage Club, pointed out that despite Help to Buy it is still a struggle for many buyers.

‘Recent figures from the Bank of England show that the share of first time buyers has decreased by 20% in the first quarter of 2018 alone. Clearly, the persistent lack of housing stock is still making the task of finding their first home a big challenge for younger buyers, and it will only continue to do so unless the Government can really deliver on its promise of building the 300,000 homes a year we need,’ he explained.

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, believes, however that the current trend of slowing annual growth will help with affordability. ‘With consumer price inflation stable and real wages rising, more homes are slowly becoming more affordable for more people,’ he said.

‘While buyer demand is there, the market remains acutely price sensitive, and even in areas where prices are rising, sellers must be pragmatic in their pricing or risk seeing their home go unsold during the summer lull,’ he added.