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Return of the closing date culture

Friday 15 September 2017

Closing dates have made a return to the middle segment of the Scottish housing market, according to Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy, Galbraith.

During the recession, and following on from the Banking Crisis in 2008, closing dates for properties were extremely rare, but since 2015 there has been a gradual increase in the frequency of properties for sale going to a closing date.

For the quarter ending 30 June 2017, Galbraith reported a 10 per cent increase in residential sales across Scotland as a whole, compared to the same quarter last year.

They found that on average, properties sold at a closing date achieved 29 per cent more than the original ‘offers over’ price.

The firm, which handled £42 million worth of property sales over the past quarter alone, attributes this change in buyer behaviour to strengthened consumer confidence stimulating a competitive market place, for properties valued up to £400,000 in particular.

Simon Brown, who leads the residential sales division at Galbraith, said: “We have witnessed a return to the ‘offers over’ method of pricing property which has stimulated healthy competition in the middle section of the market and resulted in, more often than not, a competitive bidding war amongst interested buyers.   

“Consumer confidence has returned after taking a knock, largely due to political uncertainty caused by the Scottish independence referendum and Brexit, as well as LBTT playing its part in causing stagnation in the upper segment of the market.”

Mr Brown continued: “A variety of pricing methods were used by our agents to help stimulate activity when the market took a dip, from ‘asking price’ to ‘guide price’ and even ‘offers in the region’ but sensible pricing remains key, as ever, and our agents across the country have now witnessed a return of the closing date system.”

Properties across all areas of Scotland have gone to a closing date in the past two months – including: Isle of Bute, Fife, Dumfries & Galloway, Pitlochry, Lanark, Berwickshire, East Lothian, Inverness-shire, Elgin, Edinburgh, Loch Lomond, Ayrshire and the Borders.

One country cottage received ten offers within 24 days of going on the market and in another case, a rural property which required complete redevelopment achieved four offers at the closing date, the highest of which was 25 per cent above the asking price.

The highest offer made and accepted at closing date was more than double the ‘offers over’ price, and the fastest sale was in Moray, which completed in just five days.