Average house price in Scotland reaches £168,000

Registers of ScotlandThe average price for a house sold in Scotland was 3.5 per cent higher in the first quarter of 2015-16 than compared to the same period last year, according to new figures.

Official statistics published by Registers of Scotland (RoS) revealed that the average house price in Scotland from April to June was £167,765, the highest figure recorded for this quarter since RoS began compiling quarterly statistics in 2003.

Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland said the news is “no reason for celebration”.

The total volume of sales across Scotland was 24,685, an increase of 1.6 per cent on the same quarter in the previous year. This is the highest volume of sales for this quarter since 2008.

Glasgow City showed the largest percentage rise in the number of sales, with an increase of 17.6 per cent. This brought Glasgow City above the City of Edinburgh in terms of volume, with 3,035 residential house sales compared to Edinburgh’s 3,002. This is the first time that the volume of Glasgow sales have exceeded those in Edinburgh since quarter four of 2012-13.

The biggest percentage decrease in the number of sales was seen in Aberdeen, which fell 18 per cent to 1.263.

Kenny Crawford, commercial services director at Ros, said: “The City of Edinburgh recorded the highest average house price at £237,286, a rise of 4.4 per cent on the previous year. This percentage increase is slightly higher than the Scotland average of 3.5 per cent.

“Across Scotland’s local authority areas the picture is more mixed. The highest percentage rise was recorded in West Dunbartonshire, where the average price increased 10.1 per cent to £120,822, while the largest percentage fall in price was in East Renfrewshire, which showed a 7.0 per cent drop to £216,565.”

The total value of sales across Scotland increased by 5.1 per cent compared to the previous year to over £4.14 billion. The City of Edinburgh remains the largest market, with sales of over £712 million for the quarter, up 6.4 per cent. West Dunbartonshire recorded the highest increase in value, up 27 per cent to over £45m.

Flats showed the biggest increase in both average price and sales volume; prices rose 4.7 per cent to £133,790, while the number of sales increased by 6.9 per cent. Meanwhile, detached and terraced properties both saw decreases in average price and volume. Detached prices fell by 0.2 per cent, with volumes down 2.9 per cent, while terraced properties showed a 0.3 per cent fall in price and the largest decrease in volume of sales at 3.7 per cent.

These statistics cover all residential sales, including those that did not involve a mortgage.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, warned that the expected rise in interest rates is also a cause for concern.

He said: “Increasingly expensive homes are no reason for celebration. At a time when many are struggling to afford a home and make ends meet, it’s ironic that some will see this as a positive sign that the housing market is recovering.

“True recovery suggests a return to health. But, when many 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.

“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 homes.

“We also need to be alert to the rise in interest rates already signalled by the Governor of the Bank of England, which will increase the cost of a mortgage. We are already hearing from families and individuals who come to us for help that even a 0.5 per cent increase in rates would make it hard for them to pay for their homes, pushing them further into hardship and towards possible homelessness.”

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