Scottish house prices up £6,750: Property news roundup

Plus, DIY home removals, 500K homes, and the value of the London property pound

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The Independent Online

Latest figures for Scotland from LSL Property Services show that while sales fell three per cent in May, house prices jumped nearly £7,000 in the last year with a new record level set in Aberdeenshire.

It now estimates the average house price in Scotland to be £162,302.

"We are now seeing the longest sustained period of price growth in seven years," said Donald MacLellan, Chairman of Walker Fraser Steele Chartered Surveyors, part of LSL Property Services. "Prices have not climbed so steadily every month since December 2007. "

Around 87 per cent of the local authority areas in Scotland have seen annual average house price rises and overall the rise is 4.3 per cent. In May a new average record house price was set in Aberdeenshire of £224,803, although prices in Glasgow fell just over three per cent over the previous month.

In the three months to May 2014, the number of flats sold rose 26 per cent compared to the same period last year, followed by terraced houses with a 22 per cent increase.  

“Whether this monthly blip is symptomatic of a broader turning tide in the housing market remains to be seen," said Donald MacLellan. "More changes are afoot, with greater stress testing and loan-to-income caps coming into play to ensure the long-term health of the property market. While it may be tempting for the UK government and Bank of England to intervene and rein in housing demand, it is not necessary in many parts of the UK, and could pull the rug out from under the feet of recovery in areas where growth is still bedding down."

DIY home removal

Just over 80 per cent of home contents policies that cover ‘goods in transit' from one home to the next only do so if they have been packed and transported by a professional removal firm, according to analysis of more than 300 policies by

In addition, delicate or breakable items such as glassware and china are usually only insured if they have been professionally packed. The report also revealed that one in ten policies don't provide any cover for home removals.


What is the London property pound worth?

By comparing the price of the average detached home in inner London – estimated at £1,537,232 - estate agent Strutt & Parker has devised a currency exchange rate showing the value of the ‘London pound’ across the country.

On this basis, the London pound is worth £3 in the Cotswolds (see Sunny Cottages property pictured above) and £5 in the West Country, but a much higher £9 in the Highlands and Islands.

"In the commuter belt locations such as St Albans or Guildford, the London pound is worth £2," said Stephanie McMahon, Head of Research at Strutt & Parker. "To reach the £3 mark to triple your purchasing power you have to head further out to the classic spots such as Hampshire, South Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds."

James Mackenzie, Head of the Country House Department at Strutt & Parker, said: “We sold more properties over £2 million in the Cotswolds than anywhere else in the country last year and those were mostly to Londoners moving out."

The London pound is worth £6-£7, on average, in most regions of the UK from the Midlands northwards. The exception is north east Scotland, where it’s worth £5, buoyed by Aberdeen.

Number of £500K homes up by nearly a third

The latest figures from Experian indicate that between April and June 2014, the number of homes that were put up for sale valued at over £500k rose by 30 per cent.

Houses for sale in the next highest price band (£250k to £500k) rose by 16 per cent over the last year, the highest level since 2010.

The report also shows that there were fewer newly advertised properties coming onto the market for rent, down 4.3 per cent across the UK in the last three months compared to the same period last year. The North East and Wales were the only areas to continue to see a growth in rental properties, up 4.3 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

Prime Central London lettings

The number of new prime central London properties on the market to let between March and June has dipped compared with the same period in 2013, according to W.A.Ellis with the number of flats down by 14 per cent, and houses down by 27 per cent year-on-year.

Its figures showed that just under a third of its properties in central London so far in 2014 have been let to UK tenants.

"The growth in property sale values has prompted a number of landlords to cash in and sell their investment, one reason for the drop in supply levels in some areas of the market" said Lucy Morton, senior partner and head of lettings at W.A.Ellis.

"Growth in the City employment sector has long been a barometer for the prime London lettings market and with the London economy accelerating quicker than anticipated coupled with London’s rising population, this will continue to drive demand for rental properties and support rental values."