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Supply of new housing increases by 15% in 2018-19

Total new housing supply in Scotland (new builds, refurbishments and conversions) increased by 15% in 2018-19, to 22,273 new housing units, or 2,953 more homes than the previous year, the sixth consecutive annual increase in total housing supply, and the highest annual figure since 2008-09.

Two sets of housing statistics have been released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The Annual Housing Statistics update includes information on total new housing supply in Scotland across all sectors to end March 2019, and on stock by tenure estimates up to end of March 2018, along with information on various elements of local authority housing in 2018-19 such as stock, lettings, house sales, evictions, housing lists, and housing for older people and people with disabilities.

The Quarterly Housing Statistics update includes latest quarterly information on new build housing and affordable housing supply. The affordable housing supply statistics are used to inform the Scottish Government target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent, over the period 2016-17 to 2020-21, and reflect the number of affordable homes delivered that have received some form of government support through loans, grant or guarantees. A new section has been added that compares how the level of affordable housing supply per head of population varies between Scotland and other UK countries, to help meet demand for cross country analysis on this.

Key findings from the Annual Housing statistics update:

New housing supply: New housing supply (new build, refurbishment and net conversions) increased by 15% between 2017-18 and 2018-19, from 19,320 to 22,273 new homes.

Housing supply figures include private-led and social sector new builds, as well as conversions and rehabilitations. Housing association new builds increased by 1,041 homes (33%) and private-led new builds increased by 2,679 homes (21%), whilst local authority new builds decreased by 51 homes (3%), refurbishments decreased by 642 homes (67%) and net conversions decreased by 74 homes (10%).

New house building: In 2018-19, 21,292 new build homes were completed in Scotland, an increase of 3,669 homes (21%) on the 17,623 completions in the previous year, the sixth consecutive annual increase and the highest annual number of completions since 2007-08. During the same time-period the number of homes started increased by 3,160 homes (16%) from 19,604 to 22,764.

Affordable housing: (As previously reported on 11 June 2019): In 2018-19, there were 9,554 units completed through all Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) activity, an increase of 994 units (12%) on the previous year. Approvals decreased by 547 units (5%) in the latest year to 11,130 in 2018-19, and starts increased by 303 units (3%) to reach 10,872. This activity represents the first three years in the target period to build 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent, over the five year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

Stock by tenure: As at 31st March 2018, there were an estimated 2.6 million dwellings in Scotland, an increase of 1% (20,000 dwellings) compared to 2017. The number of owner occupier households increased by an estimated 3%, and the number of housing association homes increased by 1%, whilst the number of local authority homes showed little change year on year (0%), and the number of dwellings rented privately (including with a job/business or rent-free) decreased by an estimated 6%.

Sales of local authority dwellings (Right to Buy): Sales of public authority dwellings (including local authorities with total stock transfers) fell by 96% between 2017-18 and 2018-19, to 76. This decrease follows the Right to Buy scheme closing to all new applicants in July 2016. It is expected that sales will continue to fall further in the next year as the number of applications remaining in the system falls closer to zero:

Local authority housing stock: At 31 March 2018, there were 315,625 local authority dwellings in Scotland, an increase of 1,192 units (0.4%) from the previous year, and the first annual increase in local authority stock seen in this time series since 1980.

Vacant stock: Local authorities reported 7,409 units of vacant stock at 31 March 2019, 269 units more than the 7,140 vacant units in the previous year. There were increases in units awaiting demolition (an increase of 141 units), and vacant normal letting stock (an increase of 171 units), with vacant units used as temporary accommodation for the homeless and vacant units in low demand areas showing similar totals to the previous year, and vacant units as part of a modernisation programme falling by 55 units.

Lettings: During 2018-19 there were 26,455 permanent lettings made, an increase of 789 units (3%) compared to 25,666 lettings in the previous year. There were 10,952 lets to homeless households in 2018-19, which equates to 41% of all permanent lets by local authorities.

Evictions: Eviction actions against local authority tenants resulted in 1,440 evictions or abandoned dwellings in 2018-19 (1,007 evictions, 433 abandoned dwellings). This is down 1%, or 20 actions of evictions or abandonments, on the 1,460 in the previous year.

Housing Lists: Household applications held on local authority or common housing register lists increased by 0.4% or 633 households to 158,439 at March 2019, the first annual increase since 2008, although the latest figure is 22% below the 202,235 applications recorded in 2008.

Scheme of assistance: There were 8,655 scheme of assistance grants paid to householders in 2018-19, 394 grants (4%) fewer than in 2017-18. Spend on scheme of assistance grants totalled £28.6 million, around £1.1 million less than in 2017-18. The majority of grants in 2018-19 were for disabled adaptions; 5,458 grants totalling £21.8 million.

Key findings from the Quarterly Housing statistics update to end June 2019

Latest quarterly social sector new build figures up to end June 2019 show that:

between April and June 2019, 856 social sector new build homes were completed (19% less than the 1,060 completions in the same quarter in 2018), and 1,193 were started (5% more than the same quarter in the previous year). This brings the total completions for the 12 months to end June 2019 to 5,378 (a 13% increase on the 4,778 social sector homes completed in the previous year). Total starts over the 12 months to end June 2019 are now at 6,776 (2% more than the 6,611 started in the previous year)
Latest quarterly Affordable Housing Supply figures (new builds, rehabilitations and off-the-shelf purchases) up to end June 2019 show that:

affordable housing supply completions have totalled 9,128, up 7% (633 homes) on the previous year. This includes increases in social rent completions (up by 23% or 1,189 homes) and affordable rent completions (up by 21% or 187 homes), and a decrease in affordable home ownership completions (down 30% or 743 homes)
there were 10,844 affordable housing approvals over the year up to end June 2019, down by 9% or 1,088 homes compared to the previous year. This includes decreases in affordable rent approvals (down 55% or 1,403 homes) and affordable home ownership approvals (down 25% or 620 homes), with an increase in social rent approvals (up 14% or 935 homes)
there were 10,370 affordable houses started in the year to end June 2019, down 2% or 246 homes compared to the previous year. This includes decreases in affordable rent starts (down by 43% or 792 homes), and affordable home ownership starts (down by 10% or 237 homes), but an increase in social rent starts (up 12% or 783 homes)
The affordable housing supply statistics are used to inform the Scottish Government target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 homes for social rent, over the period 2016-17 to 2020-21, and reflect the number of affordable homes delivered that have received some form of government support through loans, grant or guarantees.

Background

Note that the new build starts figures quoted in this Statistical News Release contain information on approvals rather than starts for housing associations. This is because the data held on approvals for housing association new builds is considered to be a more robust measure than the data held on starts. An approval is the point in time at which Scottish Government funding is granted through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme. Further information on this is available in the explanatory document providing background information on the quarterly statistics.

The Affordable Housing Supply Programme statistics include off-the-shelf purchases and rehabilitations as well as new build.

Social Rent includes Housing Association Rent, Council House Rent as well as Home Owner Support Fund Rent
Affordable Rent includes Mid-Market Rent (MMR), National Housing Trust (NHT) Rent as well as other programmes such as the Empty Homes Loan Fund (EHLF) and Rural Homes for Rent (RHfR)
Affordable Home Ownership includes Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE), New Supply Shared Equity (NSSE), Shared Ownership (LCHO) as well as other programmes such as Home Owner Support Fund Shared Equity
The Housing Statistics for Scotland 2019: Annual Key Trends Summary, which presents information on new house building, public sector house sales, local authority lettings and evictions, stock and vacancy rates, supported housing, housing lists, scheme of assistance and houses in multiple occupation, can be found at this address: http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787812307.

The Housing Statistics for Scotland Quarterly Update September 2019, containing details of new house building and the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, can be found at this address: http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787812314.

Background information including Excel tables and an explanatory note on the Quarterly Housing Statistics can be found in the Housing Statistics webpages.

Housing Association and most Local Authority led new build activity is funded through Scottish Government funding programmes. Several changes to these funding programmes in recent years have affected both the trends and seasonal quarterly pattern of new build approvals, so care should be taken when making comparisons over time. These same changes will also impact on the Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

The supply statistics break down new build construction activity into private-led and social sector starts and completions, with the social sector further broken down between local authority and registered social landlord (housing association). The figures are as recorded by Local Authority administrative systems and the Scottish Government Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) system. Private sector construction activity includes not only homes built for private sale but also some homes which are used in the affordable housing sector and self-build activity by local builders.

Source: Scottish Government

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Savills: Investment in Scottish real estate to reach record high

SCOTLAND has attracted more than £500 million of international capital in the first half of 2019, according to Savills.

The latest research by the international real estate advisor shows that 2019 is now on track to become the best ever recorded year for inward investment in commercial real estate in the country.

Some £575 million of international capital was invested in Scottish commercial property in the first half of 2019, accounting for 49% of all investment in the period and representing the largest share of inward capital since 2016.

Investors from Asia accounted for the largest proportion, channelling more than £240m into Scotland in 2019, surpassing the £180m invested in the whole of 2018. South Korean investors spent more than £200m, investing in some of the largest deals in Scotland. Leonardo Innovation Hub was sold to South Korean investors for £100m, with a 5.9% yield.

European investors also continued to spend heavily on Scottish commercial real estate, with almost £200m invested in the first half of 2019. The largest deal this year was to German investors, who bought 4-8 St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh for £120m, representing a yield of 4.45%.

Head of Savills Scotland Nick Penny said the country’s attractiveness to investors is likely to increase further. “2019 is shaping up to be a record year for inward investment into Scotland,” he said. “Investors are attracted by the strong performance of the economy, record employment and more attractive yields on offer relative to other regional cities in the south east.”

“Recent plans set out by the Government to position Scotland as a forward-looking digital nation by embracing 5G has the potential to enhance Scotland’s global competitiveness and continue to drive inward investment. We are already experiencing a growth in the tech sector, particularly in Edinburgh, and with digital becoming more engrained in business processes and procedures, having a fast and reliable digital infrastructure will become increasingly vital for businesses.”

Overseas investors accounted for more than three quarters (79%) of investment, according to the latest data from Savills. The second quarter was particularly active as more than £400m of deals were completed, four times the amount in the first quarter.

Offices proved to be the most popular sector in the first half of the year with £494m transacted.

Overall, Edinburgh witnessed the highest level of investment in Scotland. A total of £316m in investment was generated through six deals, compared with five in the first half of 2018.

Glasgow and Aberdeen achieved £128m and £50m of office investment respectively. Key deals during H1 included 110 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. Savills sold the site for £48m, reflecting a 5.4% yield. Meanwhile, AB1 on Huntly Street, Aberdeen, was purchased for £13.5m, with an 8% yield, also advised by Savills.

Penny, concluded: “The fundamentals of the office market remain strong. Edinburgh is proving particularly popular due to the combination of a robust occupational market and restricted supply of high quality office space which has led to rental growth in the city. This environment is creating significant demand for office buildings with international investors that want to secure long-term income at attractive yields.”

Source: The National

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Scottish housing market hits 11-year high despite Brexit fears

SCOTLAND’S property market has soared to an 11-year high despite ongoing fears surrounding Brexit, new research indicates.

Property transactions worth more than £8 billion were recorded between January and June this year, the best for a six-month period since 2008, according to Aberdein Considine’s quarterly property monitor.

High sales in the second quarter, from April to June, have been credited with driving the trend.

A total of 25,806 sales concluded in these three months, up by almost1000 (4%) on the same period last year. The additional activity pushed the average price of a Scottish home up by 1.6% to £172,189, despite the market stalling elsewhere in the UK.

Jacqueline Law, managing partner at Aberdein Considine, said buyers have retained a “degree of confidence” amid political uncertainty.

“Buying a house is not something people do with tomorrow or next year in mind,” she said.

“It’s a considered decision which most purchasers take with a medium to long-term view – and these figures suggest people are looking beyond the current political and economic headwinds with a degree of confidence.”

Edinburgh remains the most expensive place to buy a home in Scotland, with the average cost being recorded at £264,943.

The capital is followed by East Lothian, where prices have risen by 15.2% to £260,399 – the largest increase in Scotland. East Dunbartonshire came in third at £250,017, up by 4.1%, with East Renfrewshire in fourth place with an average price of £244,902 – a 3.9% drop.

East Ayrshire recorded the lowest average price at £117,676, a 3.3% decrease, while the largest percentage decrease was in South Ayrshire, which fell by 8.4% to £146,984.

Law added: “The regions with the highest property prices – Edinburgh, East Lothian and Glasgow’s more affluent suburbs – have a common tie, which is a lack of homes for sale. Average sale prices in these areas are reflective of the high demand for what limited stock is coming to market.

“Regardless of what kind of deal – if any – the UK leaves the EU with on October 31st, many Scots are pressing ahead with purchase decisions in order to provide short to medium-term security.

“However, in many areas, there are simply not enough homes on the market to meet that demand, which in turn is driving up prices for the ones which do.

“We’ve seen a similar pattern in cities like Stirling and Perth over recent quarters, where prices are edging towards the £200,000-mark despite sales falling.”

By Tom Jarvis

Source: The National

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Scottish housing market hits 11-year-high despite Brexit uncertainty

Scottish property sales have risen to their highest level in 11 years as buyers brush aside fears over Brexit.

New figures from Aberdein Considine’s Property Monitor report show that homes collectively worth £3.4 billion changed hands during January, February and March this year – the highest since the credit crunch hit the global economy in 2008.

Sales for the quarter are up £80 million (2.3 per cent) on last year and £225m (seven per cent) on 2016, the year the British electorate voted to leave the European Union.

With negotiations stalling and parliament gridlocked, economists had expected the property market to slow across the UK.

However, 19,491 Scottish homes were sold in the first quarter of 2019, up 2.8 per cent year-on-year thanks to significant sale growth in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian.

The average cost of a property in Scotland is also 8.6 per cent higher compared with the same period in 2016, with prices now at £166,334, albeit price growth has slowed to just 0.2 per cent year-on-year.

Aberdein Considine managing partner Jacqueline Law said the report, published today, showed that Scots were “getting on with their lives” amid the political uncertainty.

“It had been feared that Brexit may bring the property market to a halt. However, quite the opposite has turned out to be true so far with the value of property changing hands returning to near-record levels.

“In fact, the only time that first quarter sales have been higher was in the years leading up to the global financial crisis.

“Businesses and consumers across Scotland can’t escape the uncertainty which Brexit is creating, but what is clear is that people are getting on with their lives whilst the politicians try and resolve the situation, which we hope will be sooner rather than later.”

Despite the sales growth, the report does show a sudden halt to the house-price growth in Scotland’s biggest cities.

Edinburgh, which was enjoying its best period of property price growth since before the recession, has recorded falling prices so far this year. However, with an average sale price of £258,822, the capital remains the most expensive place to buy a home in Scotland.

Glasgow, like the capital, was also benefiting from a strong period of house-price growth – but has seen prices fall 1.7 per cent so far in 2019 to £152,079.

Average prices continue to fall in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Scotland’s other major market. But after years of decline caused by the oil and gas downturn, confidence is returning. Sales in Aberdeen alone are up by nearly 13 per cent year-on-year.

So far this year, it has been more provincial areas which have grown to boost the national market.

East Lothian recorded a substantial 38 per cent rise in the value of properties sold, reaching £109,039,078, which is a year-on-year increase of £30million.

Neighbouring West Lothian also demonstrated why a significant number of new housing developments are planned for the region with the number of homes sold up almost 12 per cent, and the value of property changing hands rising 19 per cent to £111,392,371.

The cultural and economic renaissance which is currently taking place in Tayside has also continued to have a direct effect on housing, particularly in Dundee. The city followed up a nine per cent rise in the value of properties sold in the final quarter of 2018, with a further 16 per cent jump in the first months of 2019. Average prices also rose 10 per cent at £134,845.

Source: Scottish Legal

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Brexit uncertainty fails to slow Scottish housing market

THE Scottish housing market has hit an 11-year high for sales after a surge in transactions in the north-east and East Lothian, according to new figures.

Aberdein Considine’s Property Monitor report shows homes collectively worth £3.4 billion changed hands during January, February and March this year – the highest since the credit crunch hit the global economy in 2008.

Sales for the quarter are up £80 million (2.3%) on last year and £225m (7%) on 2016.

A total of 19,491 homes in Scotland were sold in the first quarter of 2019, up 2.8% year-on-year due to significant growth in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian.

With the UK’s negotiations with the EU stalling, Parliament gridlocked and a change of prime minister in the offing, economists had expected the property market to slow across the UK.

Managing partner Jacqueline Law said the report, published today, showed that Scots were “getting on with their lives” amid the political uncertainty.

“It had been feared that Brexit may bring the property market to a halt,” she said. “However, quite the opposite has turned out to be true so far with the value of property changing hands returning to near-record levels.

“In fact, the only time that first-quarter sales have been higher was in the years leading up to the global financial crisis.

“Businesses and consumers across Scotland can’t escape the uncertainty which Brexit is creating, but what is clear is that people are getting on with their lives whilst the politicians try and resolve the situation, which we hope will be sooner rather than later.”

The average cost of a property in Scotland is 8.6% higher compared with the same period in 2016, with prices now at £166,334.

Despite the sales surge, the report does show a sudden halt to the house-price growth in the country’s biggest cities.

Edinburgh, which has had its best period of property price growth since before the recession, has recorded falling prices so far this year.

The capital remains the most expensive place to buy a home in Scotland, with an average sale price of £258,822.

Prices have fallen 1.7% in Glasgow so far in 2019 to an average of £152,079.

Average prices continue to fall in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Scotland’s other major market.

But after years of decline caused by the oil and gas downturn, confidence is returning, with sales in Aberdeen alone up by nearly 13% year-on-year, and sale values in Aberdeen up 11.6%.

Other notable area include Shetland – which has seen a 13% rise in sale values and a 15% rise in sale numbers – and West Lothian, which has seen a 19% rise in sales value.

For the first time, the Property Monitor report also include research on levels of personal debt in Scotland.

Increased borrowing can be an indicator of households being stretched. However, all but one of Scotland’s 16 postcode regions have managed to cut the amount owed to lenders through personal loans.

Unsecured loan debt across the country is down 8.3% year-on-year, with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire leading the way.

Overall, debt levels in Scotland are falling at twice the UK average.

Source: The National

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Scots property market attracts new investors

The Scottish property market is attracting a growing number of investors from England as landlord returns outperform the rest of the UK, according to a Helensburgh-based training company.

Touchstone Education, which runs courses in property investment across the UK, found that 78 per cent of its clients believe the greatest investment opportunities exist north of the Border.

In contrast, 50 per cent said they intend to target London, while 53 per cent opted for the south-east and 49 per cent for the south-west of England.

Touchstone pointed to rising rental yields in Scotland, which continue to grow while performance across the rest of the UK has flatlined.

The latest Your Move Scotland Rental Tracker showed average rents increased 1.8 per cent in the past 12 months to reach an average of £580.

Properties generated an average investment yield of 4.7 per cent in March – a six month high – while remaining unchanged in England and Wales.

Touchstone chief executive Paul Smith said: “Central Scotland is now the focus of a great deal of activity. Edinburgh has always provided consistent returns, but Glasgow is now the city that’s setting the pace.

“There’s a great deal of excitement about its growing tech, creative and financial services sectors which are attracting young, affluent workers from elsewhere in the country.

“The main exception in Scotland is, of course, Aberdeen whose property market continues to be negatively affected by the downturn in the oil and gas industries.”

By HANNAH BURLEY

Source: Scotsman

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Number of rental properties to be increased through £43 million fund

The Scottish Government has announced it will provide £30 million of funding to help boost the number of properties being built for private rent.

Investment will be provided to Edinburgh property group Sigma through the Building Scotland Fund, which was set up last year to provide loans at commercial rates as a precursor to the Scottish National Investment Bank.

The £30 million will contribute towards a £43 million Scottish Private Rental Sector Fund set up by Sigma to increase the number of rental properties in Scotland.

It is estimated the funding will enable an additional 1,800 properties to be built for private rent across the country.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “Renting accommodation is becoming a long-term option for many people, at many stages of life, for example when starting a family or when retiring.

“We want everyone who rents to be able to live in a house that suits their needs and in an area where they want to live, including near family, friends or schools.

“We want people to have the security to make that house their home – whether they are looking for a house for three years or 30 years.”

She added: “The Private Residential Tenancy already offers greater security for tenants, balanced with appropriate safeguards for landlords and investors.

“These additional new properties to the sector can give people long-term security and the confidence they are renting from an experienced, professional management company.

“The additional long-term stability these properties provide will make a huge difference for many households, especially those wanting to create a family home and settle into a community.”

Graham Barnet, Sigma chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have the support of the Scottish Government’s Building Scotland Fund.

“Our approach to housing delivery has been working extremely well in England and is helping to deliver thousands of new houses for the private rental market.

“We see significant demand for our high-quality, professionally managed homes in Scotland and look forward to using this new fund to assist in addressing Scotland’s housing needs.

“We are also continuing to explore other opportunities to extend our business model.”

The planned investment follows First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s comments at the SNP conference in Edinburgh that a £150 million scheme would be established to provide loans to help first-time buyers with deposits.

The scheme would offer first-time buyers loans of up to £25,000 to fund or top up their deposit.

Source: Herald Scotland

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Average Scottish house prices suffer first annual fall in 3 years

Property prices in Scotland dropped in February for the first time since March 2016, official figures have shown.

Registers of Scotland figures showed the average price of a property in Scotland in February 2019 was £145,762 – a decrease of 0.2 per cent on February in the previous year.

Aberdeen saw the greatest decrease, with prices falling seven per cent to an average of £149,435, while neighbouring Aberdeenshire also suffered a fall in values of 5.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that overall UK house prices are continuing to slow to the lowest annual increase in seven years, driven by dramatically falling prices in the previously buoyant market of London, where the value of a typical property slumped by 3.8 per cent.

Overall, prices rose just 1.7 per cent in January down to 0.6 per cent in February according to the latest official ONS figures – the lowest annual increase since September 2012. The average UK house price was £226,000 in February, £1,000 higher than a year ago.

North of the border, official figures showed that the biggest price increases were in Midlothian and Perth and Kinross where average prices increased by 9.9 per cent to £185,753 and 8.8 per cent to £192,631 respectively. Average price increases were recorded in the majority of local authorities – 22 out of 32 council areas – when comparing prices with the previous year.

Janet Egdell, accountable officer at Registers of Scotland, said: “The average price of a property in Scotland in February 2019 signalled the first annual decrease since March 2016, falling by 0.2 per cent in the year to February 2019.

“Prices increased in around two thirds of local authority areas and different property types showed a mixed picture, indicating that the market is highly variable across the country in this time of uncertainty.”

The volume of residential sales in Scotland in December 2018 was 7,392 – a decrease of 8.2 per cent on the original provisional estimate for December 2017. This compares with decreases of two per cent in England and 5.1 per cent in Wales, and an increase of 4.3 per cent in Northern Ireland.

The fall in London prices was the largest drop since mid-2009. However, the UK capital still has the highest average house price at £460,000.

Ben Brettell, senior economist at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Annual UK house price growth slowed to 0.6 per cent in February, the lowest annual rate in seven years. London prices fell 3.8 per cent, their largest annual fall since August 2009 in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.

“This follows efforts by policymakers to cut down on riskier mortgage lending, though clearly uncertainty over Brexit will have played a large part in the capital’s faltering housing market.”

Mike Hardie, head of inflation at the ONS, said: “Annual house price growth has slowed to the lowest rate in close to seven years.”

By JANE BRADLEY

Source: Scotsman

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Brexit doubts hit house sales – but Scottish prices soar

The average price of a Scottish home is bucking the UK-wide trend, with asking prices climbing as the spring selling season begins.

Asking prices north of the Border have jumped by 3.1 per cent month on month – the biggest increase in March of all Britain’s nations and regions. The surge has been in contrast to the rest of the UK where an average home price is 0.8 per cent lower than it was a year ago, property website Rightmove has found.

Across Britain, the average asking price for a home in March is £302,002. While this is lower than a year ago, prices have edged up by 0.4 per cent or £1,287 month on month.

Rightmove said this was the lowest month-on-month increase at this time of year since 2011 and “considerably lower” than the 0.9 per cent average increase seen over the past seven years.

The agency said the usual spring bounce in the housing market was, at best, being delayed by Brexit uncertainty as the 29 March withdrawal deadline approaches.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “While March marks the start of spring, temperatures have yet to rise in the housing market. “Buying activity remains cooler than usual, with hesitation as some buyers await a more settled political climate.

“There’s greater resilience the further away you get from the London market and there’s a sound bedrock of demand for the right property at the right price, reinforced by ongoing housing needs combined with cheap mortgage borrowing.”

The north-west of England has also defied the wider British trend, with a 2.2 per cent increase in asking prices. The average house price in London is down 1.1 per cent on the previous month.

Rightmove said the number of sales agreed by estate agents last month was 7 per cent below the same period in 2018, compared with a year-on-year fall of 4 per cent recorded in January.

But search activity on Rightmove remains steady, with the number of visits to the website staying level.

Mr Shipside said: “The closer you get to the wire without the clarity of an agreed way forward, the greater the propensity for buyers to wait and see, rather than acting now. “This could be a temporary pause and indeed market slowdowns at election time and around the original referendum result bounced back pretty quickly.”

Source: Scotsman

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Value of Scotland’s housing stock hits a new high despite Brexit concerns

THE total value of Scotland’s housing stock reached £400.7 billion in 2018 registering one of the highest rises in the UK.

Despite a UK-wide slowdown in the housing market amid Brexit concerns, the total value of Scotland’s housing stock increased by £20.3 billion, real estate adviser Savills found.

That is a 5.1 per cent rise over the year, the fifth biggest gain of the 12 areas of the UK surveyed.

It comes as average house prices in Scotland have hit their highest ever level, despite the struggles facing the property market in England and Wales.

Last month, data from Your Move found that the average house price in Scotland was now £184,569 – up 1% up month-on-month and 5.5 per cent year-on-year.

This was the highest average ever, above the March 2015 peak set by a spike in prices immediately ahead of the introduction of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

The total value of the housing stock across the UK reached a record £7.29 trillion in 2018, increasing by £190.3 billion, according to the analysis.

The gains came from outside London, as the total value of its residential housing stock recorded a £26.2 billion fall – the first decrease since 2009, Savills said.

London’s housing stock is still worth £1.77 trillion – more than four times the combined value of homes in Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool, and Sheffield.

“Our analysis demonstrates the scale of the housing market and underlines the importance of housing to the economies of London and the UK as a whole, both as an asset class and store of private wealth,” said Lawrence Bowles, residential research analyst at Savills.

He continued: “As affordability becomes more stretched, younger households are having to put off buying their first home until later in life.”

The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, said last month that in the event of a “disorderly” departure from the EU – not the central bank’s base-case scenario – house prices could slump by 30% as part of a broader economic shock.

And the Bank said the number of mortgages approved for house purchase fell to 63,728 in November, the lowest figure since April and down from 66,709 in October.

London still accounts for nearly a quarter (24.3%) of UK housing value, compared with a fifth a decade ago, according to Savills.

Some £137.7 billion of the increase in the value of housing stock last year was due to house prices going up – equating to a £4,800 price increase per home.

While 72% of the increase in the value of housing stock last year came from house price increases, the remaining 28% – or £52.6 billion was due to new homes being built.

Savills said this is the the highest proportion contributed by new housing development since 2011 and reflects the Government focus on building more new homes.

Within the £7.29 trillion total, the collective value of the private rented sector topped £1.5 trillion for the first time.

Across the UK, in percentage terms, Wales was the region showing the biggest gains in the value of housing stock in 2018, with a 6.3% increase adding £13.4 billion.

The East Midlands (6.2%) and West Midlands (6.1%) followed closely behind.

In cash terms, the value of stock in the South East saw the biggest increase across the UK last year, with £29.9 billion added on the back of growth of 2.2%.

Here is the total value of homes across the UK’s nations and regions in 2018, according to Savills, with the change in percentage and cash terms compared with 2017:

 London, £1.77 trillion, minus 1.5%, minus £26.2 billion – South East, £1.39 trillion, 2.2%, £29.9 billion – East of England, £810.5 billion, 3.0%, £23.5 billion – South West, £670.4 billion, 4.4%, £28.0 billion – North West, £529.3 billion, 5.1%, £25.5 billion – West Midlands, £468.2 billion, 6.1%, £26.9 billion – Scotland, £400.7 billion, 5.3%, £20.3 billion – East Midlands, £389.3 billion, 6.2%, £22.6 billion – Yorkshire and the Humber, £382.0 billion, 4.6%, £16.8 billion – Wales, £226.1 billion, 6.3%, £13.4 billion – North East, £152.7 billion, 2.7%, £4.0 billion – Northern Ireland, £100.7 billion, 6.0%, £5.7 billion

Source: Herald Scotland