Housing Market Hit By Referendum

Uncertainty over the referendum outcome saw the Scottish housing market stall in September as reported demand dropped to the lowest level for 20 months.

A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found the number of new homes coming onto the market also dipped.

House prices remained positive, however, with respondents reporting a growth in momentum in Scotland over the last three months.

RICS said any disruption caused by the independence vote was likely to be temporary.

Director Sarah Speirs said: "The effects of the referendum appeared particularly significant to the housing market during September, with a considerable drop in the number of interested buyers and stock coming onto the market.

"Looking ahead, we expect to see an increase in supply and demand as the market settles, but with interest rates still at historically low levels and long-term house price expectations positive, households are not under any real economic pressure to sell. Next year we expect the house price outlook to be far more subdued.''

Surveyors noted the "continued positive impact'' of the Home Report on the housing market in Scotland, with 70% of respondents reporting that it has reduced the need for multiple surveys.

The lettings market, meanwhile, continued to see a steady growth in demand, RICS said.

Kevin MacDonald, of Graham + Sibbald chartered surveyors in Inverness, said: "With the outcome of the referendum decided it is now time to regroup and build upon the improvements seen in the market during the earlier part of 2014.

"Stability and security will be key factors to help maintain an active market through the winter.''

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