House price rise is ‘bad news for young families’
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said average prices climbed by 14.6 per cent over the year to March, to stand at £207,000.
That compared with a rise of 9.4 per cent in England, 7.5 per cent in Northern Ireland and 5.7 per cent in Wales.
The average house price across the UK as a whole was £273,000 in March of this year.
Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said the new data “is no reason for celebration”.
He said: “At a time when many are struggling to afford a home and make ends meet, it’s ironic that some will see this is a positive sign the housing market is recovering.
“True recovery suggests a return to health. But, when wages are stagnant and housing costs are already high, an increase in house prices only makes it even harder for people – especially young families - to get a home of their own. For many people across Scotland these statistics are bad news.”
Adam Lang added: “A healthy housing market is one where everyone has a secure, affordable home whether renting or buying, but many are being denied that right because Scotland has a housing crisis driven by a major shortage of affordable housing.
“To meaningfully tackle our housing crisis, we need to build 10,000 new social homes every year to help those for whom the prospect of a home of their own is still well out of reach. This will bring hope to the 150,500 households on council waiting lists and much-needed jobs to our construction industry.”
The ONS house price index found the number of mortgages for house sales in Scotland increased by about 50 per cent between February and March this year.
It said that homes costing more than £500,000 accounted for a “significant proportion” of the increase in sales.
The report added: “These factors, along with a relatively small annual increase in Scotland prices of 0.8 per cent in March 2014, have led to the price index for Scotland increasing by 14.6 per cent when compared to a year earlier.
“It should also be noted that the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaced UK stamp duty land tax in Scotland from 1 April 2015, which may have had an impact on the increase in prices.”