Fife house prices buck Brexit trend

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House price growth has increased in Fife since the EU referendum, Land Registry figures show.

It is in stark contrast to the national picture, with growth in prices dropping to less than a third of its previous strong level.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says that Brexit uncertainty, a drop in foreign investment and stretched affordability have all played their part in stunting growth.

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Home Office figures show that in June 2016, the month the UK voted to leave the EU, the average sale price of properties in Fife was £121,111 – an 8.2% increase on two-and-a-half years before.

In the same period following the Brexit referendum, the average increased by 9.2%, to £134,635 in January.

But across Scotland, where house price growth dropped from 10.4% in the two-and-a-half years before the referendum, to 4.7% afterwards.

Across the UK, growth dropped from 19.6% to 6.1%.

Simon Rubinson, RICS’s chief economist, said a combination of factors meant that all regions of the UK were being affected.

He said: “There are affordability issues in parts of the country, particularly in London and the South East.

“Taxation is also a big issue – if you look at what has happened in terms of the buy-to-let market, the returns are now relatively limited.

“But when we asked our members for our last survey, despite attempting to get them away from Brexit, they said Brexit uncertainty was the main factor.”

Mr Rubinson warned that a deal for Britain’s departure from the EU was unlikely to be the end of uncertainty for the housing market, or lead to a sudden rise in prices.

But, he added, for many younger buyers looking to get on the property ladder, this may not be such a bad thing.

The number of properties sold in Fife in 2018 showed a slowdown in the local market. The data, available to the end of November, shows that 6,351 properties were sold over the 11 months.

It was a 1.3% drop on the number of sales in the same period in 2017 – across the UK, sales dropped by 5.5%.