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Scottish buyers rein in offers as rate rises take toll


Rising house prices appear to be taking their toll on buyers who are reining in their offers and looking for property they can move straight into.

Confidence in the Scottish housing market remains high.  According to Clydesdale Bank research, three-quarters (75%) of us think house prices will continue to rise over the next few months.

However, despite this confidence, buyers are growing increasingly reluctant to pay over the odds for a property.  The number now willing to offer more than 10% above the 'offers over price' has fallen from 76% to 63% in the last three months.

Buyers are also looking to save money elsewhere with 37% now looking for a property they can move straight into without doing any work.  This is a 6% increase on those looking to do the same 15 months ago.

Steve Reid, Clydesdale Bank's director of retail banking, said: "Last year house prices in Scotland were some of the fastest growing in the UK.  Despite three interest rate rises in six months, buyers remain confident prices will go the same way this year.

"Higher interest rates do appear to be coming at a cost though.  Buyers' budgets appear to be a lot tighter - which explains why they are offering less and looking for properties they can move straight into without much DIY.  Should this trend continue throughout the year then prices may well flatten out and be nowhere near the levels of growth experienced in 2006."

Clydesdale Bank's research found that, although confidence in the housing market is high, three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed have no plans to capitalise on rising prices and move house in 2007.

And it is not just this year that some homeowners are planning to stay put.  In light of rising house prices and the costs involved in moving home, nearly two-fifths (37%) of recent first-time buyers expect to live in their current property for the next 10 to 15 years.  This is well above the national average of 28% for all homeowners.

Steve Reid said: "Despite the fact moving house more frequently can help you climb the property ladder more quickly and gain more equity, a lot of buyers - especially those who have just purchased their first home - are looking to stay put for a number of years.  This may be because they've stretched their finances and need a number of years to get them back onto an even keel.  Alternatively they may not want to move because of the stress involved.

"Therefore buyers may take a lot more time scouring the market to find the perfect property for the long-term.  It doesn't just need to be right for them at present, but also in 10 or 15 years time.  They may need to start a family and need extra rooms - or their children may be old enough to leave home."


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