The Shetland Islands has seen the highest increases in average prices, volumes of sale and total value in Scotland in the last quarter of 2016, and according to SPC Scotland, it’s proving popular for those from south of the Border.
The most recent quarterly house price statistics published by Registers on Scotland, covering the period from October to December 2016, shows that the average selling price in the Shetlands is up 15.8% from the same period last year to £159,326, while the volume of sales has increased by 16.9% year on year. The total value of sales over last quarter of 2016 was £14,339,370, which is an increase of 35.3% since 2015.
This demand is backed up by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), recording that The Shetland Isles saw the biggest house price increase in the UK last year, registering a rise of 26%.
“Our experience is that the market here is busy and generally reasonably good overall,” says Robert Bell, property manager of Harper Macleods. “The number of people moving here has remained pretty constant, primarily coming from England rather than mainland Scotland, and they are generally a mix of people looking for a gentler pace of life, and retirees, but also Shetlanders looking to return home.
For many our stunning scenery, abundance of wildlife and rich cultural heritage are big attractions as well as the excellent services and amenities we enjoy. Perhaps surprisingly, there has been very little hard evidence of Brexit and Independence having had any significant effect.
“The downturn in the oil industry has inevitably had some effect however fortunately the market here has once again shown that it is relatively resilient. Certainly, the market here overall has not suffered to the same extent as Aberdeen.
“The market in Shetland is very small comparatively so care should always be exercised when considering market statistics because the figures can be easily skewed by differences such as the type or value of properties sold within a specific period, and this is especially the case here where we have a population of just 23,000, but having said that the figures do reflect our own experience in that it has been a busy time and overall prices are moving upwards.”
For Scotland as a whole, the average selling price is £168,495, remaining around the same level as in 2015. While the volume of residential sales was down 0.1% from the same period in 2015, there have been some areas where the shortage has been more pronounced, such as in Glasgow, with a 4.8% decrease in the number of properties being brought to market.
East Renfrewshire is another area in Scotland that has seen an increase in average selling prices – up by 8.1% to £250,227. The number of homes being sold has increased by 16.7% year on year.
Curtis Chisholm of solicitor estate agents Cochran Dickie said: “Because of the distinct range of property across Renfrewshire, it is greater value for money as it hasn't caught up with other areas such as Glasgow in terms of increased value. Schooling is also a driving force for many and the areas with good state schools is of course in high demand.
“We are finding that those who are selling their properties are achieving a good price because demand is there, particularly for properties under £400k. However properties above this price are taking longer to sell as they are within the higher LBTT bracket.”
While Edinburgh continues to be a seller’s market, with a slight shortage of property fuelling faster selling times and a modest 0.5% increase in average selling prices, in the Scottish Borders the average selling price has increased by 5.9% year on year, to £176,700. Mid-range properties in the Scottish Border have benefited from the LBTT changes as it is possible to buy two or three bedroom semi-detached homes in the Borders without paying any Stamp Duty, or for a few hundred compared to several thousand pounds.
Ron Hastings from BSPC said: “The Borders appears to have benefited from an increased number of people moving back to the Borders from abroad, perhaps in anticipation of the Brexit effect while also taking advantage of the lower exchange rate. We are also seeing a trickle-down effect from high prices in the Edinburgh. Many buyers are prepared to downsize or commute from as far down as Hawick and Jedburgh to benefit from the lower prices. The Borders Railway has also proved to be attractive with its greatly improved connections to the city.”
Tayside Solicitors Property Centre (TSPC) has seen strong demand for homes across the region with a 3.2% increase in average selling prices, while Perthshire Solicitor Property Centre (PSPC) has seen a 1.3% increase in average selling prices.
Lynne Hill of TSPC said: “Nearly 200 properties were sold in January, up nearly 7% on the same period 12 months ago. Despite the demand, stock levels are low across the area which has created a sellers’ market. We had anticipated a positive start to the year on the back of the final quarter performance in 2016. In particular, detached villa sales up 9% on January last year and the average price leaping from £246,324 to nearly £270,000.”