Brexit and the Scottish property market

Brexit

The decision for the UK to leave the European Union and resulting uncertainty caused by Brexit has left many people with concerns as to how this will affect the property market in Scotland.

Scottish Estate Agents, Reapit, have reported an ‘unprecedented’ damage to the Scottish housing market and a significant fall in property sales of 36% since November 2018, the lowest number they have experienced in five years. After examining data from thousands of different estate agents around Scotland, the Software company established evidence of “strong indicators of a stalled market across the board.” In particular, Reapit’s research showed that properties under offer had decreased by 8%; instructions for new properties had fallen by 10% and there was also a decline in property viewings by 5%.

In contrast, other Estate Agents in Scotland, such as West of Scotland based Corum Property, claim the housing market remains resilient and have observed little or no decrease in Scottish market activity as a result of Brexit. In January 2019, Corum placed a greater number of properties on the market than any other January since 2003 and listings for January and February had risen by an average of 36%. John Kelly, managing partner at Corum, commented on there being a healthy level of buyer demand in the property market which is bolstered by readily available and competitively priced mortgage products.

The view that the Scottish property market remains resistant to a Brexit-induced slump in the economy is also held by Rettie, independent property specialists operating across the central belt of Scotland. They maintain that “although sentiment surveys are pointing to a downward shift on the market, the actual statistics for the end of 2018 (Q4) have shown a fairly resilient market, with transactions and average prices up 1.8% and 3.7% respectively on Q4 2017 and Total Market Value (trades x price) up 5.1% YoY.”

So whilst the country is divided on Brexit, so too are the opinions of those in the Scottish property industry about Brexit’s impact on the property market. There are evidently differences in property market trends across Scotland, but it remains to be seen whether these can be attributed to uncertainty over Brexit or other factors. Ultimately, the future prospects of the Scottish property market over the next few years will be determined by the shape of the economy following Brexit which has yet to be determined.