House prices up in Highlands as year of mixed fortunes ends

Average house prices in the Highlands ended 2010 2% up on the same period in 2009, according to the latest figures just released by the Highland Solicitors Property Centre (HSPC). The figures show the average house price in the Highlands was £170,004 in the final quarter of 2010, up £2,851 from the end of 2009.

By contrast, Halifax Bank report that, across the UK, house prices fell 1.6% during 2010, dropping 1.3% in December. Nationwide’s 2010 house price report is slightly more positive, showing UK prices virtually static in 2010, with a small 0.4% increase for December.

Where both mortgage providers agree is that average house prices across the UK have fallen during 2010. Halifax puts the drop at £5,741, leaving the UK average house price at £162,435 in December 2010.

The HSPC figures show the price of an average flat in the Highlands at £109,875 in December, the average bungalow at £178,833 and the average price of a villa at £255,509.

Commenting on the Highland property market in 2010, Sarah Woodcock, HSPC Manager, said:

“The market fluctuated noticeably during the past year, reacting to the changing economic and political news. We saw that most clearly with a drop in sales during July, reflecting a loss of confidence in the wake of the coalition Government’s Emergency Budget. True to form, however, house sales bounced back strongly in August.”

Sarah Woodcock HSPC

Sarah Woodcock, Manager of HSPC

The HSPC statistics also show a small increase (0.9%) in the number of properties sold during 2010, compared with 2009. But, the biggest increase is in the number of properties on the market, with the final quarter up 25% on the start of the year.

“It is certainly encouraging that we managed to maintain HSPC house sales during 2010, against the background of falling sales and prices nationally,” Sarah Woodcock continues.

“Apart from the economic uncertainty, one of the biggest factors holding the market back is the difficulty buyers – particularly first-time buyers – are having in obtaining mortgages.

“There seems little doubt that there is pent-up demand as a result. During 2010 we saw a 19% increase in enquiries through the HSPC website. That demonstrates that there are potential buyers out there, keen to enter the market. What we need to do is overcome the mortgage issues and boost financial confidence to convert that interest into actual sales.



“For those who are able to commit to buying a home, the Highland property scene is currently a buyer’s market. During 2010 we saw a substantial growth in the number of properties on the market.

“In the final quarter of 2010 we had a record numbers of properties on the HSPC register. That means potential buyers have the widest range of properties to choose from, while prices remain keen.”
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