Property Prices Nearing 2008 Peak

The property market in Scotland has recuperated as the average price of a home increased in October following "uncertainty'' linked to the referendum, according to a report.

There was a jump of 0.7% from the previous month, meaning the average house price was £164,798, the LSL Property Services/Acadata survey revealed.

The figure is just £717 below the pre-recession peak of May 2008 and follows a fall in prices recorded in August and September this year ahead of the vote on independence.

Sales of homes costing more than £1 million also increased, which experts said showed there was a "feelgood factor'' returning to the property market.

There were 23 sales of £1 million-plus houses, which was 12 more than the previous month and the highest number of such properties sold in a single month since September 2008.

Christine Campbell, regional managing director of Your Move, said: "Thousands of Scots are finally seeing the value of their home rebuilt from the ashes of the financial crash, with prices on average now just £717 (or 0.4%) off the May 2008 high.

"Since the independence question evaporated, a new ray of confidence and certainty is radiating through the market as normality is resumed.

"The feelgood factor is especially pronounced at the highest tiers of the property market, where political uncertainty froze activity most acutely.

"Sales of properties worth £1 million or above have more than doubled from September to October as high-end homes begin to change hands again.

"After a run of monthly house price stumbles on the way to the landmark referendum, the Scottish property market has recuperated.''

There were rises in prices over the month recorded in 20 of the 32 local authorities, with East Dunbartonshire experiencing the biggest increase of 5.8% to take the average cost to £223,146.

Edinburgh remains the most expensive area to buy a home, with an average cost of £239,335 following a 0.2% monthly increase.

Peter Williams, housing market specialist and chairman of Acadata, said: "This was the tenth of the last twelve months in which house prices have risen, with falls limited to the months of August and September - the two months which straddled the referendum and the resultant uncertainty that defined the period.

"An example of the uncertainty that existed prior to the referendum, and the new-found confidence emerging in the housing market subsequent to the outcome being known, is shown by the number of property sales that were priced at £1 million or higher.''

Mr Williams said the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, which comes into force on April 1 next year, will have a "significant impact'' on the high-end sector.

He added: "On a property costing £1 million there will be an additional £33,550 of tax payable, with this level of tax increasing as prices paid for a property also increase.

"There is therefore likely to be a surge in the number of high-value properties that change hands between now and the end of March 2015 as purchasers seek to avoid the additional tax that will become payable after the tax change-over date.''

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