Comment: ‘Strict lending rules must curb spending’

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TODAY’S news from the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre – which handles around 90 per cent of all house sales in the Capital – suggests there is a surge in confidence among buyers and sellers.

The number of sales is now the highest since 2007 – before the financial meltdown – which is the first important sign that the market is getting back on its feet.

Property values have yet to recover, of course. Properties are still selling for 2.4 per cent less than their Home Report valuation. This recovery will take longer.

But having the confidence to buy in an uncertain market, and the confidence to sell, are important steps.

In short, this is a good time to buy. You are still likely to find a property at a good price and there’s more choice in the market.

The figures come from the ESPC which has been a reliable indicator of the Edinburgh and Lothians market. Their latest report reveals the total number of homes snapped up between July and September in the Lothians rose more than 40 per cent compared to the same period in 2012.

Why is this important? Rising values inject confidence in all areas of the economy. Families feel more comfortable spending when the value of their property is stable or rising.

Sectors such as DIY, furnishings and construction all receive a major boost when the housing market is buoyant.

However, there are risks and downsides to all of this.

Rising values make it more difficult for new families to get on the housing ladder.

And we should be careful that our desire for a recovery does not lead to another housing 

With interest rates likely to be pegged at a low level for the next three years by the Bank of England, there is a temptation for families to borrow big. This is where the banks stricter rules on lending must intervene.