While the Scottish property market boom continues, there is evidence that is being driven by a shortage of housing stock rather than growing customer demand.

The latest Scottish Property Trends shows that sales are now back to pre-pandemic levels but that an ongoing shortage of new listings is pressuring available stock levels, leading to price growth.

The figures, based on transaction movements between estate agents and conveyancing solicitors, shows that single survey instructions in October were 14% less than for the same month in 2019, before the global pandemic struck. Figures for December were 4% down on 2019 levels.

Activity in November was consistent over the same period although 2019 levels were negatively affected by the general election campaign and ongoing Brexit negotiations that led to unusually subdued market conditions.

Throughout 2021 demand continued to outpace supply with an average 8% drop in the number of single survey volumes compared with 2019.

There was an average 6% fall from pre-pandemic levels between October and December before there was a slight improvement in the third and fourth quarters when volumes down by an average of 4%.

Sales subject to missives activity between October and December rose by 4% compared with 2019 volumes and the Q4 saw completions more closely matched to pre-pandemic data, down by 2%.

Throughout the year completions fluctuated, with the end of each quarter ending on a high – up by 13%, 14% and 18% in March, June and September, while December finished just 1% up when compared to 2019 data, with a steadier picture emerging as the year closed.

Covid restrictions continued to impact the market, with sales registrations down, in the first half of 2021, according to the General Registers of Scotland. By November they were 21% higher than the same period in 2019, reflecting the pre-Christmas rush.  Data for December is yet to be published.

Struan Douglas, Managing Director of Purdie & Co, said: “It’s notable that in the past year we have seen a return to a more stable market compared with previous fluctuations caused by lockdown restrictions.

“It is encouraging that we are now seeing activity return to pre-pandemic levels, with sales subject to missives, completions and registered sales all showing an upward trend in the latter half of last year.

“The challenge for the industry as we move forward, is to talk up the benefits of selling properties while the market remains buoyant, particularly those with a high value of equity locked into their homes and who are looking to downsize.”

For more information on buying or selling a property call Purdie & Co on 0131 346 7240 or visit www.purdiesolicitors.co.uk