Prospects for Scottish housing market to come under microscope
22 May 2008
Leading commentators on Scottish housing and the economy will gather in Edinburgh today (Thursday) to look at the current state of the housing market and its future.
The Scottish Housing Bubble event, organised by leading housing and homelessness charity, Shelter Scotland, will examine prospects for the housing market in Scotland, as well as look at the bigger economic picture.
Speaking ahead of the conference, James Jopling, Head of Campaigns at Shelter Scotland, said massive hikes in house prices, which have seen many people priced out the market, could mean Scotland will face tough times ahead.
The warning comes just days after the charity released figures showing how 265,000 households in Scotland have a mortgage but no savings or investments. (1)
Ahead of the conference, Mr Jopling said: 'Historically, Scotland has been seen as having less dramatic house price rises and less savage consequences in downturns. This was certainly true in the last housing market crash in the early 1990s. However, the latest period of house price growth, especially in the last four years, has seen the gap between Scotland and England narrow significantly.
'According to Shelter’s recent ROOF Affordability Index, the average first time buyer property has rocketed from £38,845 ten years ago to £108,446 at present - a rise of almost 180 per cent, compared to 204 per cent rise in England. (1) As such, Scotland is no longer insulated against a housing market fall-out.'
He added: 'As house prices have increased in recent years, we’ve seen almost daily stories in the press about the impact this has had on consumers and on the Scottish economy. With such diverse views on the prospects for the housing market, we have brought together leading opinion to look at the Scottish housing market and examine how well Scotland is prepared.'
Professor Steve Wilcox, who compiled the ROOF Affordability Index and is author of the UK Housing Review, is one of the key speakers at the conference.
Speaking ahead of the conference he said: 'Previously house price rises and falls in Scotland have not been so severe as south of the Border, but this time round there are very different factors at play. There is certainly a lot of uncertainty, particularly around the effects of the crash of the sub prime market in the US and the global credit crunch. The question is not whether there will be a housing fall out or not, but how severe will it be? With so many different factors at play, it’s no wonder there is such uncertainty around the issue.'
For more information about The Scottish Housing Bubble event, visit www.shelter.org.uk/housingbubble
Notes to Editors:
- ROOF Affordability Index, Shelter Scotland, published April 2008.
- Shelter believes everyone should have a home and helps 170,000 people a year fight for their rights, get back on their feet, and find and keep a home. We also tackle the root causes of Britain's housing crisis by campaigning for new laws, policies and solutions.
- Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
- For more information about Shelter visit www.shelter.org.uk