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Housing Market Activity Picks Up in Scotland

Average house prices in Scotland reached £146,354 in August this year, which is a rise of 3.9% over August 2016 but a fall of 0.7% compared to July 2017.

UK Figures

In comparison, the average house price for the UK as a whole was £225,956, which was an increase of 5.0% compared to August in the previous year and an increase of 0.5% when compared to the previous month.
 
These figures are contained in the latest edition of the UK House Price Index (UK HPI), which also shows that:
 
  • in England, house prices rose by an average of  5.3% on an annual basis, taking the average property value to £243,520. House prices have risen by 0.7% since July 2017
  • in Wales, annual prices have increased by 3.4%, which takes the average property value to £150,258. House prices have fallen by 0.1% since July 2017
  • in London, annual prices increased by 2.6%, taking the average property value to £484,362. House prices have fallen by 1.0% since July 2017
 

Property Sales Increase

Looking again at Scotland, the UK HPI shows that there has been a welcome increase in the number of property sales taking place. According to the Index, there were 10,473 residential sales in Scotland in June 2017, which is an increase of 19.3% on June 2016 and an increase of 26.2% on the previous month.
 
Across the rest of the UK there was a mixed picture regarding property sales. There was an annual decrease in sales volumes of 11.0% in England and annual increases of 1.4% in Wales and 5.0% in Northern Ireland (Quarter 2 - 2017).
 
“Residential sales volumes have taken a boost in June, with volumes hitting a five figure total for the first time since March 2016,” commented Registers of Scotland registration and transformation director Charles Keegan. “The volume in June 2017 was 10,473, while the volume of sales recorded in March 2016 was 11,017. However, the 2016 figure is likely to have been enhanced by house buyers seeking to finalise purchases prior to the introduction of changes to the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax that came into effect on 1st April 2016. Sales volumes in Scotland also continued to perform well in comparison to the other countries of the UK.”
 

Regional Variations

The top five local authorities in terms of sales volumes were apparently Glasgow City (1,224 sales), the City of Edinburgh (1,216 sales), Fife (704 sales), South Lanarkshire (674 sales) and North Lanarkshire (561 sales).
 
Overall, house prices went up on average in 28 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities in August 2017, when comparing prices with the previous year. The City of Edinburgh saw the biggest increase, with average prices rising by 10.4% to £246,611. The biggest decreases were in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, where prices fell by 5.7% to £188,876 and by 4.8% to £167,903 respectively.
 
Interestingly, the UK HPI also revealed how many properties were purchased using cash alone. Apparently cash sales account for between 30% and 40% of all transactions across Great Britain, however there are some variations at regional level. London has the lowest proportion of cash sales (around 25%), while the South West has the highest (around 40%).
 

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