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Rise in Scottish house prices shows 'sustained growth'

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image captionThe average price of a house in Scotland has risen for the sixth month in a row

House prices have risen for the sixth month in a row, with the cost of the average home now exceeding £160,000, a survey shows.

New figures show that the average price of a house in Scotland rose by 3.6% in the past year.

An increase in first-time buyers was seen as a key factor for the rise.

However, housing experts warned that the increase in first-time buyers was reliant on government assistance schemes.

Property prices have yet to match pre-recession levels but LSL's House Price Index for February said "sustained growth" was taking hold, due in part to Help to Buy Scotland scheme.

Aberdeen has seen the largest annual growth - almost 12% - of Scotland's seven cities.

At local authority level, Inverclyde saw the largest yearly rise in prices at 16.1%, according to figures from LSL Property Services and Acadata.

They said high-end sales in Kilmacolm and Inverkip boosted the average.

Inverclyde also recorded the largest sales increase, with terraced and semi-detached properties most popular.

Buyers can expect to pay the most for a home in Edinburgh, where the average property costs £229,253.

Prices actually dropped 0.8% in the capital last month but increased 3% over the year. Aberdeen was the second most expensive city at £211,489, followed by Stirling - where buyers can expect to spend an average of £192,143.

Revived market

The house index recorded a 29% increase in the number of properties sold in Scotland in the three months from December to February compared with the same period last year.

Gordon Fowlis, from Your Move estate agencies, part of LSL, said: "Help to Buy has been the spark driving the engine of recovery for the Scottish housing market.

"In a sign of the widespread revival, all seven Scottish cities have also seen price rises from last year.

"This urban renaissance is being driven by first-time buyers benefiting from Help to Buy, typically taking the plunge in vibrant cities."

He added: "The debate is sure to ramp up in intensity as we edge ever closer to September and all eyes are on (Bank of England governor) Mark Carney's next move for housing.

"But for now Scotland can simply revel in a revived property market."

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