Borders housing market shifts gear

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Is this more than seasonality? Last month, Rettie & Co’s Director of Research Dr John Boyle commented: “The latest statistics from the Registers of Scotland show that the housing market in Scotland turned the corner in 2013.

“The fundamentals now also seem to be in place to ensure a full recovery, with improving economic activity levels, consumer sentiment and bank lending all helping to raise the market.

“Prices have been largely stable in 2013, but clearly edged up at the end of the year.

“While Help to Buy has boosted demand, there remains a marked lack of new build supply in most parts of Scotland. This demand/supply imbalance is putting upward pressure on prices.”

Less than four weeks later, the evidence is plain to see. Our offices in Berwick and in the West End of Glasgow have had their busiest months ever – extraordinary for February – whilst in the centre and favoured suburbs of Edinburgh closing dates and multiple offers have noticeably, albeit selectively, returned.

Home Report valuations no longer represent a ceiling for offers where sales are agreed privately, concluded swiftly, or where competition arises.

As is customary, a more diluted picture arises in the Borders.

Transactions elsewhere are freeing buyers genuinely able to proceed, and viewings numbers over January and February have doubled on the same period last year. Happily, so too have sales, and at the higher end of our market spectrum purchasers from south of the border are as yet undaunted by the prospect of political change following September’s landmark referendum.

As the issue of independence assumes a greater profile across the UK on an almost weekly basis, then a “wait and see” may yet intervene to spoil the party, of course, especially as we move towards the summer.

With this in mind, we have launched three initiatives this month to promote our clients’ properties to the widest possible audience at the earliest opportunity.

A Rettie Far East Roadshow is already touring Singapore and Hong Kong to ensure that the thriving economies there have access to the best that Scottish property has to offer, for returning expatriates and investors alike.

Closer to home, we will be taking all our Borders properties to London in the last week of March to participate in the Move to the Country Show, now in its fifth year and co-sponsored by Country Life magazine. Whilst at the end of the month we will be hosting our Spring Open weekend across our entire portfolio, where buyers can visit participating properties without appointment throughout Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30.

We feel strongly that 2014 is not a year to dally.