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Promising start to year for housing market as sales rise

HOUSE prices rose at the start of the year as "consolidated growth" took hold in the Scottish property market, according to the latest official figures.

The value of an average ­property grew by 3.5% between January and March while the number of homes being bought and sold 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 new statistics, from the Registers of Scotland [RoS] show the number of residential properties sold between the start of the year and the end of last month was up 22.9% compared to 2013.

A total of 17,828 properties changed hands, the highest recorded for this time of year since the start of 2008, while the average price of property was £153,352. The statistics cover all residential sales, including those that did not involve a mortgage.

RoS Director of Commercial Services, Kenny Crawford, said: "This is the third successive quarter volumes have been up more than 22% on the previous year, illustrating consolidated growth in the Scottish property market. This is a picture we're seeing across Scotland, with all local authorities showing an increase in the volume of sales for this quarter compared to the previous year."

During the first three months of the year the total value of sales across Scotland increased by 27.2% compared to the previous year to more than £2.73 billion.

All property types rose in price, with terraced properties most in demand. The largest rise in sales volumes came from semi-detached properties, which rose by 29.5%.

However, the figures showed prices are rising faster in some areas than others. The City of Edinburgh remains the highest value area in Scotland with total sales of just under £430 million, an increase of 28.4% compared with the same time last year.

Angus showed the highest percentage rise, with the total value of sales increasing by 59.2%, while East Dunbartonshire recorded the highest average property price at £219,731, a rise of 4.6% Prices fell in 11 regions, including Stirling, down 3.5%, East Ayrshire, down 3.9% and Highland, where house prices dropped by 1.9%.

Mr Crawford said: "Prices ­overall are up by an average of 3.5%, although this is more of a mixed picture across the country, with an increase of 24.9% in Inverclyde and a fall of 14.3% in Midlothian."

Estate agents said the figures were in line with what staff were experiencing across Scotland.

John Kelly, managing partner at estate agents Corum said: "On the ground sales are showing an increase both in terms of value and volume, particularly when it comes to first time purchases and up to the mid-range of marketplace, where things are moving along nicely. However, it is not manifest across the full spectrum of prices at this stage."

Oliver Paul, sales manager at Retties & Co in Glasgow City centre, said: "We deal with premium properties and we are seeing an increase in sales right across the west coast of Scotland."

Michael Luck. director at Slater Hogg and Howison added: "In some hot spots, such as Milngavie, we're seeing an increase in demand for all property types, and the market for semi-detached properties is strong."

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