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The rise and rise of Aberdeen

Alex Johnson

c094b03f7e163e74cc7cdfe63d0c94b97245e212 275x300 The rise and rise of AberdeenWe reported today about rising lending levels around the UK – Scotland has recorded its highest quarterly lending levels since 2008, first-time buyer and home mover levels are up, and overall homeowner lending for buying a house has jumped 23% year-on year. According to latest research from Savills, part of Scotland’s success story is down to Aberdeen whose improving property market appears to be helping out the rest of the country.

“Local buyers are not only investing in the Aberdeen area,” said Faisal Choudhry, Savills Head of Research in Scotland, “but are now actively seeking homes in London, other second home locations, and as well as accommodation for their children in university towns all over the UK.  The number of Aberdeen buyers registering with Savills to purchase in other parts of the UK has increased by 76% this year.”

Help to buy – good for estate agents, bad for first time buyers?

Eighty-five per cent of estate agents believe that the Help to Buy scheme will increase property sales by up to 30% in their region, according to the latest survey from Move with Us who surveyed 186 estate agents across Great Britain.

However, 45% of estate agents feel that the government hasn’t supplied them with adequate information about Help to Buy, especially on the risks as well as the benefits for customers.  Robin King, Director at Move with Us, said: “Estate agents predict positive sales figures in response to the Help to Buy scheme but we are still waiting to see the overwhelming flooding of the market that some news reports anticipated. This could be down to the restricted lender participation in the scheme to date.

“House prices are increasing naturally as we would expect in a recovering economy and it is likely the Help to Buy scheme will have a positive impact on property prices, generating more sales and creating more fluidity in the market. As a result, we expect to see an increase in house price values of between 5% and 8% in some regions as we enter 2014. However, this will be very much dependent on the banks’ ability to lend on mortgages and to fulfil their commitments to government schemes. If more lenders get involved buyers will have more options and will be able to use these incentives to purchase their first home or upscale to larger properties.”

But first-time buyers would be better off renting than buying a house under Help to Buy, according to new analysis of housing market figures by PricedOut, the campaign for affordable house prices.

It argues that interest rates are so high under the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme that the monthly repayments for the average first-time buyer in England and Wales with a 5% deposit are more expensive than the monthly rent on an average home – by between £26 in the North East and £296 in London.

PricedOut spokesman Dan Wilson Craw said: “This analysis suggests that Help to Buy will not help the average first time buyer, despite the government’s insistence to the contrary. When tenants see house prices rising they will feel pressure to take advantage of a 95% mortgage, but in doing so, many will find themselves overburdened with debt and will be paying vastly more than they would in rent, particularly in the south. And that’s even before you consider the impending interest rate rises a few years down the line.

“Continuing to rent and save appears to be the better option for most tenants. Instead of showering us with debt, the government need to make the actual houses cheaper and the only way they can do that is to build more of them.”

Pictured above is a 2 bedroom flat for sale in Union Grove, Aberdeen AB10, on for offers over £160,000 with Miller Stewart

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