The Press & Journal reported on 16 February 2023 that new figures released by Registers of Scotland indicated that average property prices in Moray increased by 7.8% in 2022.
Over the last year, the “standard” house price in Moray rose to above £187,000. (This compares, for example, with £145,500, back in 2016).
In 2022, the average sale price of property in Moray increased by £14,000.
These increases were above the average increase for Scotland as a whole – which came out at 5.7%.
Douglas Delaney, Conveyancing Practitioner at Grigor & Young in Elgin, was quoted in the P&J article regarding the apparent migration of people to Moray from the Central Belt and England – and beyond.
This is an obvious consequence of the pandemic, with an increased tolerance of people working remotely from home enabling workers to be more location-independent.
Coastal locations such as Lossiemouth, Hopeman and Burghead have proved popular with buyers.
“When people can have a five-minute walk to the beach in the morning, that definitely seems to be the attraction.”
Douglas is from Moray and so – in his own opinion – is “biased”. As he says, “Why would you not want to live in Moray?”
On one view, folk coming from outside Moray to live here is nothing new.
Indeed, people who have lived in Moray at any time – especially Forces personnel – have in our experience often been keen to come back again, say, for retirement. Perhaps some folk in the Armed Forces were not delighted to be posted to Moray but, when they realised the benefits and the quality of life they could enjoy, many were sorry to leave and keen to return.
While it’s no exaggeration for Douglas to comment that: “Things have been pretty crazy since lockdown ended”, that could mislead as regards how things look now and for the foreseeable future.
Since Prime Minister’s Truss’s mini-budget in Autumn 2022, we have seen generally rising interest rates, along with the discontinuation of certain mortgage products. What had long been a “sellers’ market” has become much more of a buyers’ market, especially since Christmas 2022.
The local market is now becoming saturated with houses for sale.
And there are fewer potential purchasers.
As Douglas pointed out: “People selling a house may want a young couple to get it or a friend of a friend, but ultimately when someone comes along and offers £15,000 more, there’s nothing first-time buyers can do.” However, it appears that we are now moving away from a marketplace where offers significantly above valuation are commonplace.
Grigor & Young’s Estate Agency Manager, Sharon Thomson, said that the market has quietened gradually since about September 2022.
It could now be described as being more like “back to normal” in terms of its pre-pandemic behaviour. You can see this through the changes in amount people are offering compared to 6 months ago. And the fact that not as many sales are going to closing dates as previously.
“Putting a positive spin on this,” Sharon continued, “as a first-time buyer, if you can get a favourable interest rate, it could be a great time to buy. Another option would be to wait, given that interest rates have recently come down from their height of about 7% to 5%, but that’s still 3% more than they were only a few months ago.”
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