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Confidence in the Aberdeen housing market on the up as sales and prices rise

The north-east property market has shown signs of recovery with "quick sales" and "return of closing dates".

Signs are encouraging for house prices across Aberdeen and surrounding areas. Image: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Signs are encouraging for house prices across Aberdeen and surrounding areas. Image: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

The north-east housing market has got off to a strong start with properties selling faster and prices increasing since the start of the year.

Some homes have even seen the return of a closing date, as the market looks to bounce back and show signs of recovery.

Higher mortgage costs, the cost of living crisis and an uncertain economic outlook all had an impact – and in many respects continue to play a part.

However, estate agents covering Aberdeen and the surrounding areas have reported a strong first quarter for 2024.

Compared to the same period last year there has been more homes listed for sale, higher offers and more closing dates.

Properties seen ‘surge in activity’

Laura Mearns, Northwood owner and director, believes 2024 has so far “defied expectations” partly due to mortgage rates stabilising.

Speaking about the first three months of the year she said: “We’ve seen a surge in activity much earlier than anticipated, and compared to previous years.

“Buyer confidence has been boosted by the stabilising mortgage rates, particularly in the first-time buyer market. 51% of our properties listed were sold in quarter one, demonstrating a clear market shift.

“Notably, 50% of those properties achieved or exceeded their home report valued.

Laura Mearns believes 2024 has so far “defied expectations”. Image: Northwood Residential Lettings and Estate Agency.

“This increased competition is leaded to higher offers and closing dates for some properties, creating a more fast-paced environment.”

Looking ahead to the next quarter Ms Mearns is expecting another “busy period”.

She said: “With stable stock levels and increased demand (compared with previous quarters), we’re expecting quarter two to be another busy period.

“The true test will be whether demand can keep pace with the anticipated ‘spring surge’ of properties coming onto the market.

“Only time will tell, but we feel the market indicators of the first few months of 2024 paint a positive picture for the Aberdeen property market.”

Figures released by Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre showed a total of 993 properties were sold through ASPC between October to December last year.

In Aberdeen, the price of a typical flat was £121,506, a semi-detached property £190,609 and a detached homes £323,237.

Signs of economic recovery for market

Deborah Bonner, from solicitors and estate agents Gilson Gray, believes one of the reason for the uptake is despite the uncertainty people have decided “life goes on”.

The valuer said: “It is unlikely a ten-year downturn will fully bounce back in a few months; however, all signs point to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire starting to dust itself off and make inroads into some economic recovery.

Deborah Bonner, Gilson Gray valuer, believes house hunters are feeling more positive. Image: Frame

“My feeling is the residents of the north-east are fed up with uncertainty, have quite rightly decided life goes on regardless, and are no longer pressing pause on their own personal plans.

“This has filtered into the amount of healthier activity we are seeing on a day-to-day basis.

“There is still a supply and demand issue, with the scales tipping in favour of the purchaser. Having said that, the properties that are achieving decent footfall and, indeed, the best offers are the ones that have the most kerb appeal, cleanest home reports, and are beautifully presented.

“I anticipate this trajectory to continue gingerly, but steadily, as the year progresses.”

More houses being sold

Figures from Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre show the numbers of properties for sale during the first quarter have risen 10% compared to the same period last year.

Sales are also up by 4% with the average price increasing by 3% to £196,407.

ASPC chairman John MacRae believes the current housing market can be summed up by one word – “confidence”.

Mr MacRae said: “If folk feel confident they will take on a mortgage and buy.

“Confidence, just at the moment is probably pretty low, due to national and local factors.

“Given all that, and our local concern regarding the future of oil and gas, it is unsurprising that our local market is difficult to analyse.

“I think it is doing quite well, all things considered, and I believe it is likely to continue reasonably resilient for the short to medium term.”

‘Surge’ in first time property buyers

It’s a similar tale for Aberdein Considine which has also seen an increase in activity.

The number of properties sold increased by 3.6% compared to same period last year and there was an increase of 11% in the amount of homes for sale.

Director Alan Cumming said: “Comparing to the beginning of last year, we have seen a notable uplift in viewing and offer activity.

“More home owners are considering making a move and we’ve seen a surge of interest from first time buyers looking to get a foot on the property ladder.

“There are some mixed messages hitting the headlines reporting a fall in property prices across the UK – these should be taken with a pinch of salt.

“With inflation falling and interest rates forecast to come down further over the course of this year, people now have the ability and confidence to consider moving home.”

Aberdeen a draw for buyers

Faisal Choudry, Savills head of residential research, believes Aberdeen is becoming more attractive to buyers with more people believing it offers “value for money”.

He said: “Whilst Aberdeenshire prices have remained largely flat so far this year, Aberdeen city’s average monthly house price in February 2024 was 2% higher compared to February 2023.

“Our agents are already seeing healthy levels of interest this year particularly in the sub £500k market where for example a recent sale in the city centre generated seven offers. The downsizer market is particularly active here.

Rubislaw Den homes have proved popular since the start of the year. Image: Colin Rennie/DC Thomson

“Whilst the top end of the market is slower across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, there is pent up demand in special enclaves such as Royal Deeside, and the team have just had three successful sales on Rubislaw Den at over a million plus: these were both on and off the market deals.

“Buyers are local and also coming from much further afield, seeing Aberdeen as offering value for money and a good quality of life.

“However, despite the stabilisation in stock levels, it is likely to remain a price sensitive market going forward as buyers are exercising more caution in their budgets and price offers due to stretched mortgage affordability.”