Scotland Leads the UK Housing Market Recovery

Figures released by various agencies have shown some consistency in rising house values across the UK over the last few months. Dare we start breathing a sigh of relief that the worst of the credit crunch is now over? Well, maybe, and if the latest statistics are anything to go by, property investors might want to start taking a close look at what Scotland has to offer.

The Nationwide building society has brought a slightly nervous but nonetheless cheerful smile to Scottish homeowners with its latest property price survey release. While the Nationwide’s figures show a fall of 3.7 per cent over the UK as a whole over the previous three months, the same survey reports a rise of 3.4 per cent in Scotland.

The fall in UK prices is less than in previous quarters, thankfully, and brings values over the year to an average of 3 per cent lower than they were in September 2008. However, these statistics suggest house prices in Scotland are a mere 1 per cent lower than a year ago – which is reason enough for the Scots to feel triumphant.

Property investors looking to maximise on what could prove to be a Scottish house price run, might want to look at Dundee which, together with nearby Angus, faired the best of all other locations in Scotland. Prices in these towns rose 2 per cent in the third quarter of 2009, bringing the average house price to £150,621 according to the Nationwide.

Interestingly, although many might think the major cities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen would have performed better than anywhere else, they actually lag way behind the rest of the country. The average price of a home in Edinburgh is now £232,632, a huge 7 per cent down on the price a year ago; while Aberdeen’s average is £202,217, an even bigger 9 per cent below what it was a year ago.

These and other statistics recently produced have (allegedly) had the Bank of England getting a severe case of the jitters, because it is concerned the market could be swinging back towards recovery all too fast. If it bounces back too quickly, there is a danger it could slide into another phase of rapid house price growth – which ultimately won’t help anyone.

I don’t doubt most market commentators, like myself, will be watching closely how the market performs, as we draw ever nearer to the end of the year. The next quarter’s figures will be influential, supplying UK analysts with much clearer evidence of an emerging market recovery … or confirmation of another burst bubble on the long slow road to eventual recovery.

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