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House price rises best in four years

HOUSE prices are growing at the longest sustained rate for four years according to a new report that continues the trend of good news for homeowners.

The survey, by LSL Property Services and Acadata, found an average price in Scotland of £161,402 was recorded in April, meaning it became the eighth consecutive month of growth. Overall, average prices north of the border are up £6,250 in a year.The latest statistics suggest the recovery of the housing market is not being affected by the independence debate, the report said.

It said the referendum could "potentially upset the apple cart", but there was no sign of any buyers delaying purchases.

It found the average house price for that month was up 0.3 per cent on March's level and up four per cent when compared to April 2013.

Gordon Fowlis, regional managing director of Your Move, an estate agency chain that is part of LSL, said: "April marks the eighth successive month that house prices have risen in Scotland, the longest run of monthly gains witnessed for four years.

"One thing that could potentially upset the apple cart is the independence vote. While the Yes and No campaigns debate which outcome will leave households financially better off, many are feeling the purse strings loosen.

"Any uncertainty surrounding the fiscal, taxation or currency implications of an independent Scotland have not dented the confidence of homebuyers - in fact areas such as Stirling have seen sales soar by 52 per cent over the last 12 months.

"The steep increase in the sale of properties during March and April is 10 per cent above the usual seasonal trend. There are no indications of a sales slowdown in Scotland."

But the report comes amid mounting anger from MPs over the Help to Buy scheme announced by George Osborne in his Budget last year, which a damning Westminster report has said could be a waste of billions of pounds.

There is no proof the scheme is working, they found. The powerful Commons Public Affairs Committee said there was nothing to prove the Coalition Government's version of Help to Buy provided "value for money". The Scottish Government has created a similar scheme north of the border.

East Renfrewshire is the most expensive area to buy property, with an annual price rise of 15.1 per cent taking the average price to a new record of £236,463.

House prices in Glasgow grew by 1.3 per cent between March and April and 5.2 per cent in the last 12 months, making the average property worth £122,836.

Growth in Edinburgh was slower, with prices only increasing by 2.9 per cent in the a year and falling slightly by 1.7 per cent between March and April.

Faisal Choudhry, Associate Director at estate agent Savills, said: "The figures in this report are very much in line with what we have seen from Registers of Scotland and mirrors those from the rest of the UK, except London.

"Even if interest rates rise, there is room in the market for growth."

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