Falkirk property: Lack of homes for sale fuels rise in prices
COVID-19 may have stopped people leaving their homes at times over the last year but it did not stop them dreaming of moving into new properties and now restrictions are easing that is just what they are doing.
Unfortunately a distinct lack of stock has led to many people going for the same property and this has the knock on effect of bumping prices even higher.
According to land registry figures, house prices in the Falkirk area increased by 3.7 per cent in the month of May and this boost continues a long-term trend which has seen property prices in the area achieve 7.1 per cent annual growth.
The average house price for May was £140,847 – that’s 3.7 per cent more than April.
Falkirk was slightly below the Scottish house price increase of 5.4 per cent for May, but the area outperformed the 0.9 per cent rise for the UK as a whole.
Over the last year, the average sale price of property locally rose by £9300 – putting the area 24th among Scotland’s 32 local authorities for annual growth.
Clark Gillespie, director and senior valuer at Clyde Properties, which has a branch in Newmarket Street, Falkirk, said the only negative thing about the market at the moment was the lack of stock.
"The market is exceptional at the moment,” he said. “Put simply we have a situation where demand is outstripping supply and this has pushed prices up.
"There are too many people going after too few properties.
"The market is riding on the crest of a wave just now, but with the lack of stock I doubt it could get busier or more expensive. I would say, for us, there are an average of five or six people going for the same property.
"Now that means you might have 15 people going for a particular property and you might have just one person bidding on another, but on average its around five or six.
"It’s a great time to be selling at the moment and we are dealing with properties ranging from £39,000 right up to one valued at over £500,000 and we are helping first time buyers, people downsizing and everyone in between.
"We are flat out, working from 7:00am with the phones ringing all the time. You sell the property to one person but you’ve got to look behind the scenes and remember how many people you arrange viewings for – we recently had 67 enquires for properties in one day.”
According to the Land Registry figures, owners of terraced houses in Falkirk saw the biggest improvement in property prices in May – up 3.9 per cent to £116,120 on average. Over the last year, prices rose by 8.7 per cent.
Meanwhile detached property prices increased by 3.4 per cent monthly and 8.1 per cent annually for a £262,791 average.
Semi-detached property prices were up 3.7 per cent monthly and 7.3 per cent annually for an average price of £153,243, while flats were up 3.8 per cent monthly and 4.7 per cent annually for an £80,699 average.
First-time buyers in Falkirk spent an average of £116,300 on properties – that’s £7300 more than a year ago and £24,200 up on May 2016.
This increase concerns Alyson Lowe, founder and managing director of Falkirk’s Alexander Taylor Estate Agents, based in Newmarket Street.
She believes people are paying over the asking price for properties because of the level of competition in the market at the moment and this means a lot of the first time buyers are being priced out of the market.
Alyson said: “There is a lack of stock out there, so there could be as many as 15 people going for one property. We get a lot of our initial interest when we put our posts online on Facebook and you can achieve a sale from that alone.
"And prices are rising because of the lack of stock available. I would say at the moment you’ve got to move really fast if you want a property and you’ve got to be willing to spend a fair whack of cash.
"First time buyers need to find additional funding, but it’s tough for them.”
Alyson said the demand for properties has led some clients who are selling their properties to hold out for an even bigger price.
"I think people have found it difficult putting their houses on the market after the year we’ve had. They are terrified to let people into their home to view it and very few people will bid on a house unless they have seen it in person.
"So now you have someone with a £100,000 property and then a potential buyer goes over the asking price right away and offers £110,000. The seller doesn’t want to accept that offer because he thinks now in this current situation he can go even higher.
"We might see things level off in September when the country knows more about what is happening with restrictions and other matters. Things normally slow down in July and early August because everyone is on holiday.”
While some may think the pandemic has made people want to stay put in familiar surroundings, Alyson believes it has seen just as many people want to move onto pastures new – and into bigger properties.
"You’ve got to remember people have been working from home over the pandemic – this has made them look for bigger premises so they can have extra room to create a home working space.
"Also, because people have been working from home and saving money by not travelling to and from work, they have more money to spend on a new property.”