Buchan keeping on top of falling house prices

Helena Gault of Stewart & Watson believes there are positives as well as negatives.
Helena Gault of Stewart & Watson believes there are positives as well as negatives.

buchan is bucking the trend in a struggling property market, with local estate agents saying there’s no better time for first time buyers in particular to get on the property ladder.

Lloyds TSB Scotland reaveled that in the three months ending July 2011 national prices have dropped by 3.7% in the past three months.

But here in Buchan, Stewart & Watson property manager, Helena Gault, believes that the current climate isn’t all doom and gloom.

She told the Buchanie: “It’s a good time for first time buyers to get on the market, as there is a much better selection of houses.

“Supply is greater than demand at the moment, but that is a reflection of the current economic climate. It’s very unpredictable - one day we could receive an offer for a cheaper house and the next day an offer could come in for one of our more expensive houses on the market.

“The control has shifted over the past few years and it is very much a buyers’ market just now - they are in a much stronger position than sellers.”

Chief economist for LLoyds TSB Scotland Donald MacRae believes that consumer confidence needs to be increased to resolve problems.

He said: “The Scottish housing market did experience the normal effect of spring this year on sales and purchases but the impact was muted.

“The Scottish housing market awaits a resurgence of both business and consumer confidence for a faster recovery.”

John Adam, partner at Adam Legal, said the market isn’t getting any worse, explaining: “Since March, sales have stood still. In January and February there were a lot of purchases but it seems to have flattened off since then. Although it isn’t worse, it isn’t getting any better.

“The properties that we are selling are those priced under £120,000 and anything which sells above this is down to having the right buyer and pot luck.

“First time buyers have a good selection of properties and there are definitely bargains to be had, but they need to have the funding available. The rental market is really strong at the moment, and we’ve known of some properties having people knocking on their doors to rent it before it’s even on the market.”

Although Lloyds have reported a decrease, it doesn’t truly reflect the current market in Peterhead.

Stewart Duthie, who heads up the property department at Masson and Glennie, told us: “The thing about Lloyds figures is that they have to go by the different types of houses that are sold at that period. We have sold more houses in the last few weeks than we had previously.

“Where there are more houses sold, there are more coming on to the market and more choice for buyers, who are trying to get the best price like anyone would do.”

Property manager at Aberdein Considine, Karen Anderson, said there was no real trend at the moment.

“There isn’t a particular type of house or price range that is selling more than the other, and there is a widespread interest in both town and country homes,” she told the Buchanie.

“There are buyers out there and if the properties are well marketed and realistically priced they will sell. There’s a very strong rental market with all types of properties securing tenants.

“It’s good to see an increase in activity now that the schools are back.”

Isobel Stephen, property manager at Gray and Gray, has noticed that lenders are giving more than they have been previously.

“We’ve noticed that about 90% of people are getting their mortgages, which is quite good as it’s been between about 80 and 85% in the past,” she said.

“We have some new builds available at the moment which have had a lot of interest but the people who wish to buy them need to sell their property first, it has a knock on effect. We have had a few families coming in since the schools have gone back who have found they need bigger homes, and I’d say on the whole that things are looking brighter.”