The Scottish property market enjoyed a sharp rise in sales following the December general election, according to Aberdein Considine’s Property Monitor report.
According to the survey by the multi-office Scottish legal firm, more than 10,000 homes changed hands in December, an unseasonal jump of 15% on November and the highest single month of sales recorded since October 2018. It was also the best December for total sales since 2007, before the property market crash.
In total, sales increased in 25 out of the country’s 32 local authority areas, bringing the total Scotland-registered sales for 2019 to just under £18.7bn, £550m more than 2018.
First-time buyers accounted for 50% of mortgaged property purchases in Scotland last year, and up to 6,000 more are expected to take advantage of the Scottish Government’s new First Home Fund in 2020.
The shared equity scheme gives buyers up to £25,000 towards the cost of buying a home and is forecast to be a driving force in the market this year.
However, the report shows that the average price paid for a home in Scotland during Q4 of 2019 was £178,151, rising at a rate of 2.2% per year. The most expensive areas to buy in were East Lothian, with an average price of nearly £268,000, followed by Edinburgh some £2,000 behind, and then East Dunbartonshire, which showed the largest price rise during the final quarter to more than £263,000.
Aberdeen showed a stable average at £194,528, though volumes rose for the first time since the oil and gas downturn, while Glasgow returned an average price of £163,874 and Dundee £146,101.
Jacqueline Law, managing partner at Aberdein Considine, commented: "After a year of political and economic uncertainty, it would appear that the decisive nature of the election result has brought a fresh wave of confidence to the property market.
"And while Scottish votes contributed little to the Prime Minister’s parliamentary majority, it looks like the country’s homeowners may well benefit in the years ahead."
She added: "As we head into the spring market, there is every sign that this trend will continue, thanks largely to an injection of first-time buyers using new shared equity schemes."