I’ll start off with a large dollop of good news issued by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

They expect, in 2014, a rise in prices, throughout Scotland, of 7%.

I’m happy to say that I believe that a price rise will come to the North of Scotland. This is real news because this has not been seen for a very long time.

Do not expect 7%, however. Expect a much lower percentage. This is due to the fact that RICS are banking on there being more property desired than available, nationwide. Here, however, we differ since there is plenty of housing stock available and lower demand.

These are, however, happy days and cause for celebration.

So how did we do in 2013?

More good news! We saw the return of buyers in numbers. According to the Registers of Scotland, sales in the Highlands rose by nearly 40%, which was one of the highest in the country. It was a continuation of the theme of 2012 where people had decided that prices were not going up any time soon and so, if they were going to move, they may as well do it straight away. After all, even if they were not to get the price that they had hoped for, neither would they have to pay a high price for the property they were purchasing. Indeed, with demand being so low in historic terms, the prices being paid were generally under the home report valuation. In other words, prices were going down.

Having said that, the good news is that, in the last couple of months properties have been selling at their asking price. A new development and a welcome one!

According to the Registers of Scotland, prices nationally rose 5.6% but, sadly, in the Highlands, prices were reported, overall, to have dropped by 0.8%. Highland figures, are, of course, skewed by Inverness where there is much more investment, both private and public. It always seems to do rather better than the rest of the Highlands and so, in the North, the drop would have been much higher.

As the year went on, the good economic news kept coming. The Westminster government had read the economic signs correctly and the world looked on in astonishment as we raced to the top of the growth tables in the Western world.

There was very little negative news. The European crisis had not gone away but had quietened down. Critics may say that the upturn is fuelled by credit but it is an upturn, nevertheless, and the old truism holds good – “success follows success”.

I was very much heartened by events in 2013. Properties that had been on my books for a long time sold. The English started coming back with money in their pockets to buy retirement properties. Prices steadied. It was, pretty much, all good news. It is true to say that plots did not sell well but I have great hopes, for 2014, on that side, too.

All in all, 2013 was a good year and you can expect 2014 to get even better.
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Bruce de Wert has over 25 years of experience and is Principal Solicitor and Estate Agent at Georgesons, Wick and Thurso.  Follow him on Twitter – @BrucedeWert and Facebook – MyScottishLaw