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Community / Tough time for buyers as ‘demand exceeds supply’ in property market

THE LOCAL housing market is “frenetic” at the moment, according to one property expert – with high demand met with a lower than usual number of homes going up for sale.

Harper Macleod’s Robert Bell said “demand is exceeding supply at the moment”, which is making it more difficult for people to navigate through the market.

He added that more people than ever is signed up to the company’s mailing list for updates on new properties.

The demand is in part down to an apparent increasing number of people keen to move to Shetland.

But with more competition for buyers, some local folk are postponing selling incase they miss out on purchasing their next house.

This has led to less houses going up for sale, and more being snapped up quicker – with the majority selling for over their asking price.

“There’s certainly a lot of demand out there, both within Shetland and also from outwith Shetland,” Bell said.

“That’s coupled with the number of properties available being very low historically.

“We’ve seen generally properties go under offer very, very quickly. The market is certainly very frenetic at the moment. It’s moving quite quickly.”

Bell said the increased number of people looking to move to Shetland could stem from the shift in thinking over the last year about working from home – with some realising they could live in a rural area and still do their job.

“It’s probably been one of the best times to sell, for possibly ever – the conditions for selling are very good,” he added.

“There’s a lot of factors that come into it…but it’s definitely a sellers’ market.

“The other side is that it is certainly more difficult for a buyer at the moment because there’s increased competition and not a huge lot of property to go after.”

As a result there has also been more interest in house sites, although nationally it is said there is a shortage of supplies in addition to rising costs.

Bell added there are some “good prices” being achieved by sellers locally, although naturally this can vary.

“The way things are at the moment, it’s something we’ve not really experienced before,” he said.

“It’s quite unlike the market at any other time. There’s been peaks at other times, but this one is a little bit different from the norm. It’s not easy to necessarily navigate your way through it.”

One person struggling to find a breakthrough in the property market at the moment is Eve Eunson.

The 41-year-old says she is “desperate” after looking to buy a property for a number of months, despite being open to any condition.

In mind is a property with land around 20 minutes from Lerwick, or something in the town or Scalloway with a garage or shed.

Eve Eunson is keen to make more furniture – and buying a new property could provide workshop space.

“I’m in the best position I’ve been in a long time to buy,” she said, “but there’s nothing there to buy, and things are expensive when they are coming up.”

Eunson, who is currently lodging with a friend, said she is now looking back to properties up for sale six months ago which she had previously discounted, and is “wishing they were still on the market”.

A key part of why she is looking to buy is to have somewhere with a shed or workshop.

Eunson – who currently works in architecture – is the brains behind a recent exhibition at the Shetland Museum on Fair Isle chairs, and she is keen for space to make furniture in.

“It’s affecting the growth of the furniture making side of things, that I don’t have somewhere that I can develop into a workshop and studio space.”

With no luck in the buying market so far, Eunson’s time spent lodging – which was only supposed to be for a few months over winter – is now stretching to a year.

“I need to get my own space and start moving forward,” she said.

A selection of local houses for sale can be found on the Shetland News property page.