FOLLOWING one of the most sustained and prolonged property slumps on record, the residential market in the Argyll and Bute area is finally showing signs that it is emerging from recession, according to Oban-based estate agents, Bell Ingram.
A company spokesman said houses, especially those located within town centres in Argyll and Bute, can now sell within three to six months compared to a lengthy average of up to 12 months as recently as last year.
However, it was stressed that despite the encouraging improvement being recorded in the number of sales and the shortening of selling periods, it could still be another year before the market overall sees consistent upward growth in values.
The company reports: “Sales activity improved steadily through last year with the company recording a third of all sales in the last quarter alone. This applies property across all sectors but in particular town centre properties.
“We are seeing flats and smaller house sales really take off with good interest from both owner-occupiers and buyers keen to invest into the buy to let sector. There are also signs that the second homes market has picked up recently, all of which provides strong signals that the market is beginning to turn for the better.
“Primarily, this is down to more flexibility in the mortgage market, but it is also the case that sellers’ price expectations have finally begun to modify somewhat.
“Buyers are still being highly selective and will only offer on property that meets all their criteria, but now that prices are slightly lower it is becoming easier to get back on the property ladder.”
However, larger properties and plots are still struggling to see improved levels of interest from buyers but it is hoped that as confidence returns these sectors will also see higher levels of activity.
Bell Ingram is predicting activity levels across the entire market to continue to improve and remain sustained over the next 12 months. As a general rule, the company believes that the Argyll and Bute property market is in line for upward growth, albeit lagging levels seen elsewhere in the country.
Turning to the commercial and business sector, the demand for retail property remains generally depressed although there has been a recent improvement in interest in office/business space, suggesting companies have recovered following the recession and may be looking to expand once more. As for the hospitality and leisure sector, continuing difficulties with securing bank finance for such businesses continues to hold back progress in this market, other than at the corporate level.
Established in 1899, Bell Ingram is a multi disciplined firm of chartered surveyors, forestry managers, estate agents, architects, building surveyors and energy specialists. With more than 130 professional staff across 11 UK offices the firm provides local knowledge with national coverage.
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