House Sales Growth Surges To 15%

A monthly property report has presented a mixed picture of the state of the Scottish housing market.

The latest house price index from LSL Property Services/Acadata found house sales recovered in September as the "uncertainty'' over Scottish independence was put to bed with the referendum vote.

Annual sales growth surged to 15%, from just 7% in the 12 months to August, making it the strongest September for transactions since 2007.

But the report also showed average property values have fallen for the second successive month, down 0.4% or £587 over the month, slowing the annual change to 5.1%.

And prices were shown to be falling at the top end of the market, with a 1.3% monthly drop witnessed in Edinburgh, and values dipping 1.2% in Aberdeenshire during September.

Nevertheless, the average Scottish home has risen in value by nearly £8,000 in the last year after a sustained period of growth, taking the average house price across the country to £163,630.

Christine Campbell, regional managing director of Your Move, said: "Following almost a year of fair winds and steadfast price rises, this is the second month in succession to muddy the waters, with average property values in Scotland falling a further 0.4% in September.

"Two of the most expensive areas of the country saw the tide turn, with prices in Edinburgh dropping 1.3% during September, and Aberdeenshire seeing a slump of 1.2% over the month - reflecting the ripples in evidence in prime central areas of London, as the top tier of the housing market experiences the keenest downturn.

"While Scottish house prices have sailed up nearly £8,000 in the last 12 months overall, the rate of annual growth appears to have changed tack, easing back to 5.1% in September from 5.8% in August.

"Since June, the monthly pace of house price growth has ebbed away, as doubt raged over the future of Scotland within the United Kingdom, and touched the brakes on activity in the housing market.''

But Ms Campbell said the shifts on the surface of the market have not uprooted the "solid foundations'' of the recovery.

Average house prices across 81% of Scotland stand higher than they were the year before, she said.

East Renfrewshire saw property values soar by 13.4% in the year to September, and new price peaks were reached in East Lothian and Aberdeen. The price of a detached home in Aberdeen City has risen by an average £15,000 over the last three months, to total £410,000.

Ms Campbell added: "September also saw sales snap back after the vote put the lid on uncertainty, and transactions were up 15% year-on-year, compared to only 7% growth over the 12 months to August.

"After the ground that was lost in August, renewed demand saw more vigorous activity buck the usual seasonal pattern, and this was the strongest September for house sales in seven years.''

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