Current lockdown restrictions saw house sellers in Scotland holding off putting their homes up for sale, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
However, its February UK Residential Market Survey also showed that sales activity is expected to rise in the coming three months, helped by an easing in lockdown.
For the second month in a row, the number of new buyer enquiries in Scotland fell in February, with the net balance coming in at -34%.
The number of properties being listed for sale also fell for the fourth consecutive month, with respondents anecdotally citing the current lockdown restrictions as the reason behind the fall in appetite.
This lack of demand from buyers and sellers led to a fall in newly agreed sales for the second month in a row.
Near term sales expectations moved into positive territory though, with a net balance of +18% respondents in Scotland expecting sales activity to rise in the three months ahead, marking the strongest reading since July last year.
Looking at house price growth, a +38% net balance of respondents in Scotland reported an increase in prices in February.
Prices are expected to climb over the coming three months, as +17% of respondents in Scotland anticipate a rise – up from +4% in January.
Alexander Inglis, a senior associate at Galbraith in the Scottish Borders, said: “We are seeing strong demand from buyers but sellers have been reluctant to come forward due to the lockdown and time of year – this is starting to change with more sellers now ready to test the market.”
David Cruickshank, a residential surveyor at DM Hall in Elgin, said: “Few properties are being offered for sale due to Covid restrictions – demand remains high though, resulting in short marketing periods and rising house prices.”
Commenting on the UK housing market picture, RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “A very clear message emanating from the latest survey is that more needs to be done to address the shortfall in supply with price and rent expectations very evidently continuing to accelerate.
“Planning reform, which the government is addressing, alongside supporting a sustainable and inclusive recovery in the economy are key elements in encouraging the private sector to increase the pipeline of new build, but it is clear that this is only part of the answer, particularly given the impact of low interest rates on demand.”
He concluded: “It is critical that a holistic approach is taken to the housing market ensuring that policy is designed to deliver across tenures and indeed to improve the environmental quality of the existing stock through a retrofit programme.”
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