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Houses selling faster thanks to rise in demand

ESTATE agents say there is ­growing confidence in the housing market in Glasgow after a new report revealed a fall in the number of days it takes to sell a property.

Figures from Countrywide have revealed that on average, "for sale" signs are being taken down 55 days after they go up - the shortest length of time since 2007.

The rise in transactions has been fuelled by an increase in the number of people looking to buy property, and the growing numbers of prospective homeowners has also boosted prices.

The report found more homes are being sold for figures close to their asking price, with the level of reductions down from 18% to 5% during the last 12 months.

Much of the activity is being driven by first-time buyers looking to get on to the property ladder after years of being frozen out, while homeowners scared off by the crash in house prices have also judged the time is right to move.

However, a fall in the number of homes available means housing stock is being replaced more slowly than it is being bought, giving rise to concerns demand will outstrip supply.

The Countrywide report follows figures from Registers of Scotland last month that showed the number of homes being bought and sold across Scotland increased for the third successive quarter. Property transactions were up by 22% compared to the same period in 2013, indicating that the recovery from the slump in house prices in late 2007 is continuing.

The average time taken to sell a property has fallen by 12 days over the past year to just 55 days, down from 75 in 2013.

However, the continuing effect of the economic downturn is revealed by statistics that show the number of sales in Scotland's largest city are now running at barely half the rate observed during the boom years between 2000 and 2006 levels.

In 2006, the average homeowner in Glasgow moved home once every six-and-a-half years, roughly in line with the Scottish average. However, by the end of 2013, they moved on average just once every 14 years.

During the last 12 months, three-quarters of buyers who purchased a property in Glasgow came from the city, compared to fewer than half in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Away from property transactions, the report also indicated Glasgow's rental sector could be in line for a windfall from the Commonwealth Games this year.

Experts predict that those ­renting out properties to visitors for the durations of the Games could expect to receive about £2000-£2500 per week, six times the amount a tenant could expect to pay to rent the property on a long-term basis.

The market for rental ­properties for the Commonwealth Games is almost entirely separate from the mainstream rental market, and as a consequence there has been no additional impact on the levels of available stock.

Michael Luck, managing ­director of Slater Hogg & Howison, said: "The recovery in the Glasgow housing market is rooted in the return of the first-time buyer and the confidence they bring to the rest of the market. A lack of activity over the past five years meant that house purchases which weren't essential were postponed, as confidence in the housing market evaporated.

"The strong performance of highly skilled employment markets, and financial services in particular, has meant that demand exists, in particular, for high-quality rental property. In the first quarter of 2014, half of moves in the rented sector were because of new or changing employment, up from one-third in 2013.

"In the medium term, the supply of private rented sector stock will be boosted by the Commonwealth Games through the construction of a number of build-to-rent schemes. However, it is unlikely the games will have a significant impact on the number of available rental properties."

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