Activity in the Scottish housing market slowed during May, as a decline in new properties coming on to the market was accompanied by a drop in new buyer enquiries.

This was the finding of the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey, which revealed that a net balance of 13% more chartered surveyors reported a fall in demand, while a net balance of 8% saw sales tail off last month.

However, despite the drop in activity, house prices in Scotland apparently remained firm and a net balance of 15% more respondents expect prices to climb in the next few months. This is due, in part, the continued decline in supply, with 22% (net balance) of surveyors reporting a decrease in new properties coming on the market in May.

According to RICS, supply has now failed to keep up with demand, even during more quiet months, for much of the past three years.

While prices are continuing to rise modestly across the rest of the UK, this trend looks set to fade, with 10% more respondents predicting that prices would fall rather than rise over the coming three months. This is the first time that a fall in prices has been predicted since 2012.

RICS is calling on the new Scottish Government to make the delivery of housing, across all tenures, a priority during their term. From new supply, to improving the poor condition of the country’s existing housing stock and developing plans to bring back into use Scotland’s 27,000 long-term empty properties, more needs to be done to address the current imbalance.

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