Property Price Watch – Significant News from Land and Property Markets

After a period of relative calm when it comes to property and land prices, new growth and renewed optimism is throwing up stories from across the UK of fresh booms and inflating prices. We look at three items we have selected from land and property…

Land Prices

In the first 6 months of 2004, an acre of land would have cost just over £2,400. Now due to increasing interest from both farmers and investors buying to rent land to farmers, the cost of an acre has more than trebled to a record high of £7,400 across the UK in the first 6 months of this year.

Researchers at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors explain that commercial farmers are expanding production and taking advantage of the long term trend for rising food prices. With an ever growing population and diets changing around the world, the demand for food is only expected to continue rising, increasing the demand for farmland in the UK and across the world.

Incredibly, research by estate agents Knight Frank has shown that for years gold was the only asset to outperform farmland; but in the short term this situation has reversed as the price of the precious metal has weakened.

Property Prices

Where once they were stagnant, house prices, in many areas, are now surging ahead once more – some say, at unsustainable levels.

A new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looked at a number of developed countries around the world, highlighting that in the UK house prices were 31% overvalued in terms of a price-to-rent ratio. Even worse offenders were Belgium, Norway and Canada who each recorded ratios above 60%.

Measuring house prices against rents offers a measure similar to the price-to-earnings measure, or p/e ratio, used to value shares and stock markets.

In general, prices in the UK fell 20pc in the initial phase of the crisis, but mounted a recovery in 2010 which means values are now only 11pc below their 2007 peak.

An Unusual Hotspot?

When one mentions a location filled with foreign investors, bustling industry and exploding house prices, the immediately obvious response is to think of London. Not so in recent years, however, as the Scottish city of Aberdeen is providing stiff competition for the title of the UK’s foremost property hot-spot. A particular surprise to those that have seen it lambasted by authors like Stewart MacBride in recent years, labelling it ‘the Granite City’.

The figures, from the Registers of Scotland, make for interesting reading:

  • The average house price in the city of Aberdeen more than doubled from £91,573 in 2003-04 to £187,298 in 2012-13. An increase of 104.5%.
  • In Glasgow, property prices rose by 23% over the decade
  • In Scotland as a whole, house prices were up 53% over the same period
  • Sales volumes peaked in the summer of 2007, but were at their lowest at the start of 2009

Despite the warnings of Business Secretary Vince Cable of serious inflationary pressures in the South East of England and the North East of Scotland, the second phase of the Help to Buy scheme has been brought forward by three months in England and the Scottish government has announced the start of its own scheme.

With these schemes and a number of large companies making long-term commitments to Aberdeen, due primarily to its proximity to North Sea Oil, the city looks set to continue on its upward trajectory.

SRJ / LCB                                                                                                            07/10/2013

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