Scotland now fastest place in the UK for property sellers to find a buyer

08/08/2019 09:37:20


Scotland is now the fastest place in the UK for sellers to find a buyer for their properties, replacing London, according to newly published figures.

A report by the property portal Rightmove found that it now takes just 41 days for the average seller to secure a sale, compared with 66 days in 2014.

In London, the average time to sell a home has increased from 36 days in 2014 to 60 days.

While Brexit is partly to blame for slowing down the market in London and the South-east, other factors contributing to the changing trends include a decline in the buy-to-rent market following the introduction of punitive tax measures by the Government.

Several surveys have shown that the property market has slowed in London and the South East of England in recent years, with prices falling particularly in London.

House prices on average across the UK are still rising slightly, but there has been a significant drop in London.

Scotland, in contrast, and housing markets in the Central Belt in particular, have seen sales activity and property values rise.

Paul Burns, Director of Scottish Property Centre Cardonald, said that, while it would be tempting to link that with the decline south of the border to uncertainty over Brexit, other factors at play.

He said: “One of those is the increasing amount of time taken by the sellers of flats to find a buyer in England and Wales.

“Changes in taxation have led to a drop in the demand from buy-to-let investors, many of whom had built up a portfolio of apartments.

“Another theory is that the Bank of Mum and Dad has helped some first-time buyers to move straight into houses, instead of flats, with the added attraction of some outside space and their own front door.”

He added: “These factors have not affected buyers in Scotland to the same extent. Relative affordability, combined with a shortage of Available stock means there is still a thriving market, particularly in Glasgow and the west of Scotland.”

Once a buyer has been secured, the legal process and the checks required by mortgage lenders have become stricter and taken longer since the financial crisis. Greater regulation has slowed these down for many people.

The debate over leaseholds, more common among flats, may also explain the difference with Scotland, where so-called hidden costs are far less of an issue and where the time to find a buyer of any type of property has been falling.

Mr Burns said sellers of older flats were also in competition with a host of new-build developments, which might include access to restaurants and gyms.

He suggested being realistic when setting a price, considering throwing the property open to offers over a certain price, and showing off the space available inside the flat.

"De-clutter and de-personalise as much as possible. Show off the space and give people a blank canvas to imagine living there," he added.

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