Will 2013 be the year the market turns?

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Proof of housing market activity in the Borders heating up was demonstrated by Rettie & Co’s October Open House Weekend, during which an array of properties were on open viewing.

This led directly to five sales with a total realisation of £950,000, with another two large transactions totalling £1million still potentially in the offing.

Markets in rural locations tend to lag urban areas in recovery phases, but there now seems to be evidence that the rise in house transactions in the cities is beginning to ripple out into our region.

In the most recent official housing market data from Registers of Scotland, transactions in the Borders were up a staggering 30 per cent on last year.

Buyers are clearly more willing to transact.

Increased activity is particularly noticeable in the Kelso area where transactions are 50 per cent up on the same period last year, and in Melrose, showing an yearly increase of 30 per cent.

Nationally, the volume of sales in Scotland is up 22.5 per cent and market turnover –the total collective value of transactions – is up by 24.4 per cent.

This is a strong message and shows that the market is returning. As it can be an important feeder to our region, it is heartening that Edinburgh recorded 33 per cent more transactions than last year; whilst in Glasgow there were almost 20 per cent more.

Prices are up modestly – only 1.5 per cent overall in Scotland.

Although average prices in the Borders are up an impressive 6.4 per cent, this should be taken with a pinch of salt as this is the average price of property transacting, not a measure of price changes for individual properties.

The increase indicates that more expensive property is now selling, raising average sale prices.

Three properties which look set to benefit from this trend are featured here – Haybank in Kelso, Wollrig at Ashkirk and 4 Rosebank Drive in Selkirk.

The improving economy, higher levels of bank lending, improving consumer sentiment and government stimulus packages such as Help to Buy are all having a direct impact in promoting housing market recovery.

Rettie believes that the market will continue in this upwards direction over the next few years and expect transaction levels in the Borders to rise by around 40 per cent over the next five years, based on recently revised housing market forecasts.

Rettie & Co forecasts for Borders housing market Transactions

2012 (actual) 1,320

2013 (forecast) 1,470

2014 (forecast) 1,580

2015 (forecast) 1,670

2016 (forecast) 1,770

2017 (forecast) 1,900