There has, however, been a shift lately and we are seeing positive comments coming out from the press about the residential property market and mortgage funding.
A huge amount of the information is based on figures from south of the border but there is evidence of an improved market in some areas of Scotland.
In Edinburgh, the ESPC figures suggest that there has been a 13% increase in the number of sales.
This and general market information, ties in with our own figures. I am delighted to say that our numbers indicate that we have not only kept pace with the market but have, in fact, increased our market share.
In Glasgow, the GSPC press releases indicate a similar uplift in the overall market. With the benefit to our merger with Macdonalds, we hope to start making a similar impact in Glasgow, to that achieved in Edinburgh.
It must be appreciated that within Morton Fraser and both the ESPC and GSPC there is an emphasis on the fact that these are all average figures and not all areas or house types are the same. For example there has been some increased activity at the lower end of the market due to a change in mortgage availability to first time buyers, along with investors entering the buy to let market. This naturally pulls the average house price down. Equally, it cannot be ignored that some areas of the market are still very subdued with little or no activity.
What can be seen in the main cities is a great hunger for property with a significant uplift in not only enquiries but with genuine viewers noting interest. This has resulted in an increase in properties going to a competitive closing date and achieving at or above Home Report value.
There has also been an increase in activity in the new build market which ,whilst not directly helping the overall residential market, indicates an increase in confidence in the purchasing public that has been lacking in recent years.
The mortgage world has also changed with a significantly higher number of mortgage products available and an element of competition between lenders creeping back. This benefits the would be purchasers and is good for the market.
Whilst we are busier and I believe there is positivity in the market, it is important to bear in mind that whilst there is increased activity and more properties achieving figures around Home Report valuation, there are still significant cold spots for activity and the number of transactions and level of sale prices are still, in general terms, down from the highs of 2007.