Page last updated at 07:26 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 08:26 UK

Housing takes a hit from 'crunch'

A year on from the so-called credit crunch, more and more Scots are struggling to pay their mortgages.

The number of repossessions is also rising and one Scottish estate agent believes house prices have now fallen by up to 15% as a result.

BBC Scotland business correspondent Hayley Millar reports.


Glasgow's Quality Hotel is becoming a Mecca for bargain hunters.

For sale boards
The market has seen a continued period of slow-down

This is where Countrywide holds its Scottish property auction and auctioneer Paul Bridgeman says repossessed properties are now making a regular appearance.

"We've seen an increase in repossessions in line with market trends," he explained.

"It's about 45% to 50% of the properties sold here. This time last year, repossessions were probably only around 30%."

At Countrywide's most recent auction, a waterfront flat in Leith sold for 152,000.

It was bought for 289,000 just two years ago.

Flats like this may have been bought as buy-to-let investments rather than primary homes, but either way, they are examples of people not being able to meet their mortgage payments.

In the past 12 months, lenders who had relied on financial markets to fund their mortgage books, have come a cropper.

Lending squeeze

Banks now have less money to lend so they are choosier about whom they lend it to - 100% loan-to-value ratios have disappeared.

Crawford McCaughie, from the Dunfermline Building Society, is the Council of Mortgage Lenders' spokesman in Scotland and he says that 80% is now the norm in Scotland.

He said: "There are no signs of the securitisation markets opening. Something major needs to happen to kick-start the mortgage industry, perhaps not back to the levels that we saw in 2005 to 2007, but perhaps back to a level that would support the economic growth of the country."

Bill Cullens
Bill Cullens, from Clyde Property, says prices are at 2005 levels
The change of circumstance in the mortgage market has hit Scotland's housing market.

Transactions are down by about 50% and now house prices are falling too.

Bill Cullens, managing director of estate agents Clyde Property, believes the housing market has already seen a correction.

"People need to accept that there has been a correction of between 12% and 15% in prices depending on where you are," he said.

"I think they have gone as far as they need to go. Prices are now down at 2005 levels."

The housing slow-down is now having a wider impact.

Housebuilders are stopping many new developments and thousands of jobs are going as a result.


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