Moray’s property sector is creaking under pressure as families wanting to escape the busy life continue to push up prices.
The market is continuing to boom across the region, despite huge expansions planned in Elgin, Forres and Lossiemouth.
Now it has been revealed the surge in sales could slow down due to demand outstripping supply – with one estate agent reporting a shortage of homes for sale.
There have also been warnings that rental prices in the region could soon be on par with Aberdeen.
Elgin-based property firm Galbraith has reported an 8% increase in house sales for the quarter ending at the end of June, when compared with the same time last year.
But last night Rod Christie, the firm’s head of residential sales in the region, said the continued growth could now lead to a shortage of properties.
He said: “The £200,000 to £400,000 market is selling very well with increased buyer demand resulting in a shortage of high quality housing in that bracket.
“The Moray property market is very much family driven with both locals and those looking to relocate from the south making a lifestyle choice. Speyside and the coast are popular choices.
“We have many prospective buyers registered with us who are ready to move, so we would encourage anyone thinking about selling to do so now while the market is buoyant.
“Properties that are sensibly priced and enjoying a good rural, yet accessible, location are in high demand.”
Unaffordable prices have already resulted in teachers turning down jobs due to the cost of accommodation.
Galbraith has reported a 13% increase in application registrations at their Elgin office.
More than 4,000 homes have been proposed for Elgin but are expected to take up to two decades to build.
However, about 2,000 people are expected to move to the region over the next three years as part of the huge expansion of RAF Lossiemouth.
Homeowners opting to extend instead of selling up has been highlighted as a reason for some properties not going on the market.
Last night, John Cowe, chairman of Moray Economic Partnership, said preparing sites for new homes was an integral part of the council’s city deal funding bid.
He said: “We need the infrastructure for housing projects to take place. Roads, pavements, lighting, sewage – all that needs to be in place before you can look at housing.
“The fear is that if things overheat and we don’t address the road system in the Elgin area then the transport department could say we’re overstretching it and object to things because the infrastructure isn’t in place.
“At the moment there is going to be a shortfall in houses available and rents could soon be comparable to Aberdeen.”
Moray Chamber of Commerce believes the variety of jobs in the region as well as comparatively affordable prices is making the area an attractive destination.
Galbraith revealed the short supply of properties is not just confined to the buying market.
Head of lettings Sarah Hazzard said: “Demand for rental properties throughout Moray and the Highlands is high, with properties frequently being let before coming to market.
“With more and more landlords selling, the private rented sector is struggling to meet demand for good quality homes. We are always looking for new properties to take on, to ease the demand.”