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Lack of supply drives up property prices

HOUSE prices in Scotland are expected to be driven upwards by a lack of supply on the market, according to a survey.

The number of new homes for sale in November fell well short of rapidly rising buyer demand, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Scotland (RICS) said.

It is one of the most positive predictions in terms of the increase in price in the past six years, although experts have warned it comes amid concern about the lack of new homes available.

Director Sarah Speirs said: "It's no secret that the housing market is on the way up and prices are rising in many parts of Scotland.

"We are still very concerned about the lack of both new and existing homes coming on to the market."

Compared with an earlier survey, 52% more chartered surveyors across Scotland predict prices to continue their upward trend.

The shift in opinion is the highest reading since July 2007 and demonstrates the impact that the recovery in demand, and limited supply, is having on the housing market, according to RICS.

Most surveyors (78%) expect sales levels to increase in the new year, assisted in part by the Scottish Government's Help to Buy scheme which offers government-backed guarantees to those hoping to get on the property ladder with deposits as low as 5%.

It prompted concerns of a house price bubble by creating more purchasers for fewer properties, although the housing recovery north of the Border has not been as strong as in England.

Edinburgh-based Virgin Money has become the latest lender to join the scheme, saying the products will be available immediately, having brought forward their launch from next year.

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