Scotland’s property market is likely to see a slow but steady growth throughout 2015 as key influencing factors kick in over the next 12 months, according to Edinburgh’s leading property solicitor.
Scott Brown, Estate Agency Consultant at Warners Solicitors and Estate Agents, believe that 2015 will see growth of around 3 or 4% in the property market.
However he is stressing this prediction needs to be measured against the uncertainty which will be caused by the likely May General Election and the changes being made to Stamp Duty rates from April 1.
Scott said: “We are seeing a welcome recovery in the Scottish property market, and in particular, the Edinburgh property market is performing strongly.
“There is an undoubted new confidence in the property market, fuelled by greater job security, the recovering UK economy, continued cheaper loans and schemes such as Help to Buy.
“That has lead to some people becoming big winners in the property market in 2014 with properties going to closing dates and competition pushing up prices, in some exceptional cases, to 20% over valuation.”
However while Scott believes that there will still be sellers who will see continued strong house price growth, the market in 2015 overall will be complicated with the Stamp Duty changes and the impending General Election.
Scott said: “It is inevitable that the change to Stamp Duty levels on April 1 will cause people in Scotland to rush to buy their home in order to avoid paying more tax.
“As the April 1 gets closer, there’s a risk that people will begin to get stressed and panic buy, perhaps at prices they should not be paying.
“We’d recommend against that and encourage people to consider that we still have the Home Report which provides the best marker and measurement for value.
“There is also the impact of the General Election to consider. We already saw with the Referendum in September that activity stalled as people were wary about, both buying and selling, until they knew the result.
“I believe there is every risk that this will happen as we move close to General Election date, with people holding off making a move until the decision on the next Government is known.
“So while there will be inevitable one-off sales which are outwith the norm, I believe that the uncertainty in the market will lead to a slow, steady price growth of 3-4%, certainly for the first six months of the year.
Scott added that – despite a hangover from the Referendum - he believes prices in Edinburgh are now just a touch away from the levels pre-recession in 2008, being driven by stability in the jobs market in particular the capital’s financial services sector.
The Warners findings match that of the ESPC which showed sales between September and November rising by 19% year-on-year, their highest level for the period since 2007; while new listings recorded a 13% spike compared with the same period in 2012.