Bank of Scotland

Consumers more optimistic about Scottish housing market prospects than a year ago

27 October 2012

More people in Scotland expect house prices to rise than fall over the coming twelve months, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Housing Market Confidence tracker. 29% of respondents forecast that house prices will rise over the next year, whilst 25% of respondents predict a decline in prices over the same period.

This means that the headline House Price Outlook balance (i.e. the difference between the proportion of people that expect house prices to rise rather than fall) stood at +4 in October. Although this is slightly lower than the reading of +6 in June, it is significantly stronger than the -17 recorded in October 2011.The majority think that any house price change over the next twelve months will be relatively small with more than half (56%) expecting any movement to be between +5% and -5%.

However, headline House Price Outlook balance in Scotland remains among the lowest in Great Britain. Those living in Scotland and the East Midlands are currently the most pessimistic about the outlook for house prices (both +4%), followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (+5). In contrast, those living in the South West of England are the most optimistic with an overall net balance of +19%, closely followed by those living in London (+17%).

Concerns over job security and raising a deposit continue to trouble buyers
More than half the respondents highlighted the challenges in raising a deposit (59%) and concerns about job security (54%) as the main barriers to buying a home in Scotland. Respondents also picked out the general availability of mortgages (35%) and household finances (25%) as major hurdles to home buying.

Public sentiment still points to a buyers’ market
Over half the respondents (57%) think that it will be a good time to buy in the next 12 months. This is more than eleven times the proportion of those living in Scotland that feel it will be a good time to sell (5%). Overall, just 2% were positive about both buying and selling over the next year, suggesting that the level of housing market activity is likely to remain subdued.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, commented:
"Despite some recent weakness, the general improvement in confidence in the outlook for house prices over the past year reflects the relative resilience of the Scottish housing market. Although the weak economic climate remains a significant constraint on housing demand, the low level of mortgage payments relative to income continues to provide support for house prices."

Read full press release