Recent national headlines, to this effect, mirror my own experience, here in the Far North.
HM Revenue and Customs reported that there has been an 11% rise in house sales this year and I would certainly confirm that house sales are definitely up.
There is speculation, with which I tend to agree, that people have lost faith in the possibility of a return to the “good old days” and so have bitten the bullet and moved.
We were all told to expect, in 2008, that it would take about three years for the economy to return to normal. Well, three years has, and gone and the economy has not returned to anything like normal. Indeed, the prospect of that happening is fleeting.
So, when times get tough, the tough get going and purchasers and sellers have just got on with it.
What does that mean? It means that house sales are up but the gritting of the teeth was caused by the fact that the price that sellers could expect to get (and have accepted) was lower than they wanted. So prices are down.
The Nationwide says that, nationally, prices are down 2.6%. Interestingly, the Registers of Scotland indicated that prices in Scotland are down 0.2% and up, in the Highlands, by 0.4%. I think that Inverness must be skewing the figures because my own experience is that prices are significantly down in the North.
The Registers of Scotland do, however, say that sales in the Highlands are up by between 7%-15% and I would agree with that.
Who is looking? At the moment, it seems to be virtually all internal to Caithness. We have buy to let purchasers but also, happily, a new entrant to the market which is the person who has managed to sell and is looking to upgrade! We have been waiting for that for four years and it is a blessing.
As to the future, the Government has unveiled a new lending package. They are offering cheap money to the Banks if they then lend it on again to businesses and house purchasers. I have heard pundits say that already five-year fixed price mortgage deals are cheaper. Loans are available-even to the extent of 95% but you do pay for that by way of a higher rate of interest.
It is certainly never been, for a very long time, a better time to be a buyer.
You can see the properties I have for sale on my Caithness and Sutherland property website.