Caesar and Howie property experts report increased activity in the Scottish Property market. For over two months now transaction levels have increased following the firm noticing increase viewings from April this year. Managing Partner David Borrowman reports “we are now beginning to see the increased viewing levels of four months ago turning into actual offers and sales. Whereas in the last six months of last year our transaction numbers were down to 30% of normal levels they are now back up to 60% and look to go even higher in the coming months.” There are two principal factors helping the recovery – the first is the increasing availability of mortgages. Sandy MacFarlane Caesar and Howie’s most experienced mortgage advisor comments “Whilst mortgages are still a little tight to get – they can at least be got now – whereas at the end of last year there was virtually a moratorium on mortgages. Also the Lift mortgage initiative has also helped bring first time buyers back into the market for the first time in nearly two years. That’s a big change and of course every time first time buyer snaps up a property the person that sold that property usually buys another – so the whole market is stimulated. To be honest I have never been this busy in years – and it is mostly with Lift mortgage applicants.” The flexibility of the Lift scheme is another benefit continues Sandy. “Some buyers think that you can only buy houses built by Housing Associations – but that is a complete misconception. You can of course buy from an Association but you can buy on the second hand market too and you can even buy a new property from a private builder – so all areas of the market are covered by the scheme” Another feature which is helping the market move forward is a new realism in the approach of sellers to setting prices. Property Valuer John Renton has noticed a distinct change here. “When the recession first struck, the property market pretty well seized up. At first sellers did not respond to the new conditions and kept trying to price their property as if a boom was still on” says John. “But at last things have changed and most sellers are realising that it is the keenly priced properties which are shifting, and prices have of course gone down in the last 18 months. If you are buying on, of course the house you buy will have gone down too – and folk in the market are beginning to respond to that. As well as that there is no doubt there are some bargains to be had out there” The experience of Caesar and Howie seems to be shared elsewhere and whilst it is never safe to predict too much in the property world the consensus among the professionals seems to be that the worst is over.