West of Scotland housing market makes encouraging start to 2016

Professor Gwilym Pryce

Increased house prices and shortened selling times have resulted in an encouraging start to the year for the west of Scotland property market, according to the Glasgow Solicitors Property Centre (GSPC).

The largest estate agency network in west central Scotland has published its quarterly report for the first three months of 2016, with statistics showing that despite a marginal decrease (1.0 per cent) in house prices in Glasgow and the surrounding areas from the final three months of 2015, prices have risen by 1.6 per cent on an annual basis since March 2015.

Given that the latest figures on general inflation suggest that consumer prices have risen by around 0.3 per cent, this indicates an increase in house values above the annual rate of inflation.

Price increases are noticeably stronger in Glasgow (3.3 per cent annual increase) than in the surrounding areas (0.5 per cent annual increase).

The most notable change is the fall in selling times, down from 113 days to 76 days on average, a fall of 33 per cent compared with this time last year.

This is the biggest annual fall since the second quarter of 2010 and continues the downward trend in selling times since 2012. Selling times are now the lowest they have been since 2008 for this time of year.

Professor Gwilym Pryce from the University of Sheffield, who analysed the GSPC sales data, said: “It is slightly unusual that falling selling times - which are often taken as an indication that the market is hotting up - has not been matched by significant increases in prices.

“This might be due to growing efficiency in the house selling process with advances in digital marketing and social media resulting in properties being marketed more widely and at a quicker rate.”

Austin Lafferty, director of the GSPC, said: “The Q1 2016 GSPC results reveal a steady and continuous improvement in market conditions which is encouraging considering the previous rather familiar story of positive recovery being tempered by market fragility.”

Professor Pryce added: “Overall, the housing market in the West of Scotland remains fairly buoyant with house prices continuing to rise steadily above the rate of inflation, and sellers benefiting from particularly short selling times.”

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