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By Nat Daniels

CEO, Estate Agent Today


Property Natter - Buyers 'tak' the high road to stronger market

When we talk in general terms about the UK housing market, we tend to draw a picture of generality.

Facts and figures have been averaged out and trends are interpreted the same way. But industry watchers have been puzzling lately over what exactly is going on North of the Border.

While it’s been a tough couple of years for England, our Scottish neighbours have been experiencing house price growth – outperforming all other regions in the UK.


No-one can doubt that we’ve all been dealt a tough hand over the last couple of years, spikes in interest rates, rising inflation and a cost of living crisis that has hit virtually every household.

Were it not for the general resilience of the housing market throughout these islands, we might have all been in a pretty sorry state.

But while most of us have been battling to hold our own and keep the ship afloat, Scotland has been full steam ahead.


Research this week from upfront information platform, Home Sale Pack says that in some parts of Scotland, prices have gone up by 15%.

Their figures show that the average house price in Great Britain has dropped 0.7%  to £284,718,  over the last year (a performance vastly better than many predicted) whereas in Scotland, average house prices have risen 4.8% to £190, 328.

This is the strongest growth of all the nations and regions in Britain.

Home Sale Pack puts some of Scotland’s success down to a lower number of fall-throughs. The Scottish market experienced an 11.9% drop in transactions over the last year to 92,120 while the next best performing region in Britain was the North East recorded a decline of (wait for it…) a whopping 31.8%.

Home Sale Pack co-founder, Ruth Betton, says the lure of Scotland never seems to fade.

But is there something else that makes Scotland different to the rest of us?

She adds: “One reason for Scotland’s proven resilience has got to be its unique buying process in which the agreement between buyer and seller becomes legally binding far earlier than it does in England and Wales.

“This means there are fewer fall-throughs because buyers and sellers aren’t able to change their minds and pull out at the last minute.”

Ruth argues that if fall-throughs could be reduced in England and Wales, each nation might enjoy the same price resilience.

I’m not convinced that the Scottish experience holds all the answers for the rest of us but there’s no doubt that a reduction in fall-throughs would help.

Brighter picture for brokers

There was more positive news for all of us this week from specialist property lenders, Octane Capital, whose own figures suggest that total mortgage broker market size grew by 2.6% in 2023.

Over the last decade, Octane says that the mortgage broker industry grew by 110% and, more interesting still, is forecast to grow another 32% by 2030 – reaching a total market size of over £2.5bn.

Octane’s boss, CEO Jonathan Samuels, says that despite the tough economic headwinds 2023 was another year of positive growth for mortgage brokers and he expects that with the property market showing signs of a return to health, this will continue through to 2030.

All may not be what it seems

Something else that’s growing appears to be property-based fraud. As you’d expect, as the property sector becomes ever more regulated, we run a lot of stories on AML and protection against other financial crime. But this week we have TWO features outlining potential dangers to the sector.

The first, by SmartSearch managing director, Martin Cheek asks whether companies in the sector are doing enough to meet their regulatory requirements. His answer, based on their own survey, is, worryingly, an emphatic ‘No’.

Check it out here.  

The second article is by Jonathan Stebbing, Chief Commercial Officer of tmgroup. Jonathan’s piece highlights the particular risk posed to residential conveyancers. He points out that criminals often attempt to exploit the transaction process to launder money.

Read more here

The truth is, every property professional should be on their guard against a growing problem.

In September 2023, Apex Bridging reported that mortgage-related fraud had risen by over a third in 12 months.

And just this week, Letting Agent Today reported that PropTech supplier, Goodlord, analysed 600,000  tenancy applications and found that fraud had increased by 140% over the last year. You can read Graham Norwood’s article here.

We all have to be on our mettle – better safe than sorry.

Until next time.


If you have a story you’d like us to Natter about, email us on press@estateagenttoday.co.uk


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