The Scottish residential house market remains very far from buoyant. Prices remain subdued and may still be falling in many areas. Outwith the cities many sellers face a very long haul indeed to find that elusive buyer. On top of all that when the buyer eventually turns up he or she generally offers under the asking price or Home Report value. Sellers have faced these tough conditions for fully four years now and you just have to enter the market as a seller with a gritty determination to see things through realistically. On top of all this we now hear theUKis still in recession – hardly the news to excite anyone trying to sell their house. Yet behind all this doom and gloom the fact remains that all markets for assets trend up and down depending on supply and demand. Since people live in houses there will always be demand for them – but now much of that demand is met by letting the asset – not buying. However, it is just possible now to identify some signs that the popularity of buying rather than letting may be returning. A recent Bank of Scotland survey found that there was “a considerable improvement” in affordability of houses in most areas of Scotland for key public sector workers such as nurses, teachers, police and fire fighters. A further survey by the bank into confidence in the housing market showed a significant increase in the number of people believing house prices will go up in the next year. On top of that the major Solicitors Property Centres – which sell most property in Scotland– report a modest increase in sales activity in the first quarter. So perhaps for the first time in several years there is some modest evidence that the housing market is perhaps approaching a return to better times. The next few months should tell if these “straws in the wind” turn into something significant.