Aberdeen housing market in a difficult local economy
I doubt that anyone in our area is unaffected by the downturn in the oil industry. Job losses, a decrease in general activity – noticeable across the City - and hotel occupancy rates down are all signs of the change. Unsurprisingly, the effects are also being felt in our housing market.
In the period between January and March 2016, house prices in Aberdeen City and suburbs decreased by 1.7%. The comparison, year on year, (according to the constant quality index produced by the Centre for Real Estate Research at University of Aberdeen Business School) is a decrease of 4.9%.
Additionally, the number of transactions has also fallen.
So, just how bad is it?
While not denying the difficulties, it is important to look at the current situation realistically and not get carried away. In the first quarter of this year, ASPC notched up 1,126 sales, compared to 1,535 in 2015. Bear in mind, however, that 2015 saw a surge in sales of houses before LBTT changes in April that year.
Clearly, the market has slowed, but there is still a good level of activity. There are also some signs of improvement in the oil price. Other countries and economies are waking up to the fact that overproduction does not help. The producers are also working on making a profit on lower prices. It will take time, but I think we will see progress towards improvement, perhaps by the end of this year.
If that does occur, it will not lead to a boom, but I think we can expect a steady return to more realistic levels of activity. In the medium to long term this period may prove beneficial if it makes all of us realise that our area is entering a new phase of offshore activity, where cost is more closely monitored.