The Secret to Scotland’s Swift Property Sales

In the realm of property, Scotland is breaking the mould with its rapid turnovers compared to our neighbours. According to the latest data, Scottish properties are selling at a rate nearly 50% faster than their English and Welsh counterparts.

Rightmove’s October House Price Index reports that, on average, it takes just 31 days for a property in Scotland to be sold. This is significantly quicker than the UK average of 59 days, with Wales and London trailing at 66 and 65 days respectively.

Despite a 1.5% decrease in Scottish house prices during October, the year-on-year figures show a 0.5% rise in contrast to the UK’s average 0.8% decline.

Before we unpack the factors contributing to this phenomenon, it’s essential to understand the current state of the market. According to Sam, the owner of Property Webb, a significant amount of the market activity is occurring below the £200k price point.

“We are seeing this here regarding the upsizers market where buyers are not prepared to increase the mortgage that they currently have. Across the market, we are seeing the most activity below £200k. So far in October, there have been 185 sales across West Lothian, and 116 of those are below £200k, 26 from £200-250k, 17 from £251-300k, 12 from £301k – 350k, 7 from £351-400k, 5 from £401k-450k then 3 from £450k plus,” says Sam.

Sam further points out that price reductions have been a trend in October, indicating sellers must adjust their price expectations.

There were also 73 price reductions in October, compared to 56 in September and 50 in August. This shows that sellers’ price expectations need to be managed, and agents need to stop valuing homes at 2022 levels as the 2023 market is not supporting those prices,” adds Sam.

Furthermore, the Q3 Residential Property Trends Report from Landmark Information Group indicates a strong listing presence in Scotland, with a 12% increase in August and a 5% rise in September compared to the same period in 2019. This contrasts with just a 2% and 3% increase in England and Wales.

While the volume of ‘sold subject to contract’ remains below Q3 2019 levels across Scotland, England, and Wales, the dip is less dramatic in Scotland, where volumes have decreased by only 22% compared to England and Wales’ 36% decline.

The mortgage market mirrors this trend. Despite a slight delay in data, figures from the Scottish Government show a 9.6% year-on-year decrease for first-time buyer (FTB) mortgages in Q2 2023 and an 11.8% decrease for home mover mortgages. This is significantly less than the UK average decrease of 28% for FTB mortgages and 30% for home mover mortgages, as per UK Finance.

The Scottish housing market, since 2008, has followed the Home Report system wherein sellers must provide buyers with a detailed property report within nine days of their request. This report, which includes a single survey and valuation, a property questionnaire, and an energy report, provides all vital property information upfront, thereby reducing the risk of down valuations later.

Apart from the market dynamics, Sam suggests that the system might facilitate smoother transactions compared to its English and Welsh counterparts.

“Our system is better than our English and Welsh counterparts, allowing smoother transitions. We also instruct a solicitor from the outset, meaning we can help the process go a lot smoother as well as the internal due diligence that we do in checking chain details, mortgage details and checking funds are in place if a cash buyer etc,” she explains.

So, it appears Scotland’s speedy home sales are a product of a more efficient system, coupled with market dynamics that favour lower-priced properties. Furthermore, if you engage with a knowledgeable and experienced Estate Agent who understands how to set correct pricing and deliver effective marketing, you are far more likely to enjoy a speedy and financially successful property transaction. 

It’s a fascinating trend to watch as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the real estate market. If you are selling your home in West Lothian, please do get in touch. We are here to help!


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