Archive for the ‘Property’ Category

HOMEBUYERS in Scotland spend less of their income on their mortgages than anyone else in Britain, a report has found.


PEAKS AND TROUGHS: In East Ayrshire, which includes towns such as Darvel, mortgage payments account for 15% of disposable earnings. Picture: Angela Catlin

One-fifth of a buyer’s income north of the Border goes on mortgage payments, compared with as much as 38% just five years ago, and the lowest level for a decade.

Those buying a home in Scotland can expect to spend an average of 20% of their disposable income on the mortgage, compared with 35% in London, 24% in the north of England and 25% in Wales.

The Bank of Scotland Affordability Review, published today, found that “affordability” – the measure of mortgage payments as a portion of average after-tax income – was bolstering the housing market.

Nitesh Patel, the bank’s housing economist, said: “The prospect of interest rates remaining at low levels for some time yet is expected to continue to be a key factor supporting the demand for homes, helping to keep house prices around their current level during the remainder of 2012.” However, UK-wide figures also underlined the huge gulf between the real cost of buying and owning a home in Scotland and England. Estate agents believe this disparity is helping to fuel the net immigration from the rest of the UK that drove Scotland’s population to a record high this summer.

Faisal Choudhry of Savills said: “Over the last few years we have seen more and more of our buyers come from outside Scotland – although three-quarters of buyers tend to be local, wherever you are.”

The Bank of Scotland found the 10 council areas where mortgages were the most affordable – compared with local average earnings – were all north of the Border. East Ayrshire was the most “affordable” place in Britain to buy a home, with payments accounting for just 15% of average earnings after tax. It was followed by West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire, where the figure was just over 16%.

Mortgages remain relatively affordable in the most buoyant parts of the market. In Edinburgh, for example, anyone buying a home today could expect to spend one-quarter of their income on mortgage payments – the same as in relatively poor Wales. Aberdeenshire and Perth and Kinross are the least affordable places in Scotland, with new mortgages accounting for 25.7% and 25.2% of average local disposable earnings.

Lower real housing costs in Scotland’s private sector should mean home-owners have more money to spend on other things – helping, in theory, to prop up the failing economy.

Gary Gillespie, the Scottish Government’s chief economist, has suggested this factor should mean Scotland recovers faster from the recession than England, and especially London. Last week The Herald revealed that Scots also have the lowest unsecured debt, on average, in the UK and that many were using any spare income to pay down their mortgages or other debts. Housing market insiders happily acknowledge middle-class home-owners are doing well in Scotland today, arguably much better than those elsewhere in the UK, with plenty of cash left over to spend on boosting their lifestyles or cutting unsecured debt. However, industry-watchers also stress that the affordability figures conceal an awkward truth about the country’s housing market: that it is effectively closed to new entrants. Times are also hard for people who bought bottom-end properties at high prices just before the credit crunch in 2008 – as they often have insufficient equity to move up the ladder. John Boyle, head of research at estate agent Rettie & Co, said: “Housing affordability in Scotland has been boosted by the modest fall in house prices, reduced mortgage rates and an increase in the size of deposits being put down by buyers. “However, the high level of deposit required and restrictions on lending are still making it difficult for people to get on the housing ladder, hence transaction levels remain relatively subdued.”

The Scottish Government last week unveiled a scheme under which 6000 people will be able to get 95% mortgages for new-build homes.

Real Radio Scotland listeners are 36% more likely than the average Scot to have bought or sold a house in the last 12 months – Nearly two thirds of Real Radio Scotland listeners are home owners1 (64%)

96.3 Real XS listeners are 28% more likely than the average Scot to have bought or sold their house in the last 12 months also – 57% of Real XS listeners are home owners2

Smooth Radio Glasgow listeners are 89% more likely than the average Scot to have finished their mortgage payments in the last 12 months – almost three quarters of Smooth Glasgow listeners (74%) are homeowners3.

The Herald – 27.08.12 

Source: GB TGI Radio+, 2012 Q2, Kantar Media, Scotland BARB Region /

1RAJAR/Ipsos-MORI/RSMB six months ended June 2012 within Real Radio Scotland’s TSA

2RAJAR/Ipsos-MORI/RSMB six months ended June 2012 within Smooth Radio Glasgow’s TSA

3RAJAR/Ipsos-MORI/RSMB six months ended June 2012 within 96.3 Rock Radio’s TSA

*96.3 Rock Radio re-launched as 96.3 Real XS Glasgow on Monday 24th October 2011

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