A DUNFERMLINE property expert has said FOMO – or ‘Fear Of Missing Out – is driving up house prices in the city.
Alasdair Seaton, residential surveyor and partner in the city’s DM Hall Chartered Surveyors office, said both buyers and sellers were “more animated, agitated and active” than they have been for years.
“It is not being overly-dramatic to say that there is something of a frenzy in the housing market in Dunfermline and West Fife at the moment,” he said.
“In some ways, it confounds rational analysis, since the received wisdom during the lockdown years – with all the economic damage they entailed – was that we would come back to a stinging recession.
“But there is something quite different about the underlying psychology of the market at this point in the cycle – and we should never forget that housing activity is always cyclical. It never stays the same for long.
“I suspect that, consciously or not, what is driving many decisions is FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Prices have been going up at such a prodigious rate that sellers are tempted to trouser a stonking profit, while buyers are rushing to act before they go up any further.”
Mr Seaton said lockdown resulted in people re-thinking their lives with which led to a “mini-exodus” from cities.
“Buyers have certainly shown a steely determination to do whatever it takes to secure the home they now want, but what has been surprising of late is how many of them have been able to find hefty chunks of extra cash to do so,” he said.
“Logic suggests that many people, denied the opportunity for discretionary spend on things such as holidays and outings during lockdown, have been squirrelling money away to be ready to go over the odds for the house of their dreams.
“Whatever the reason, going over the odds has now become the norm with a widespread expectation that transactions will take place at levels at least 10 per cent over the Home Report valuation.
“This, of course, only stokes inflation, as the next seller discovers the price of the last sale and starts by looking for the same – and more. And the prices continue to bubble up.”
Houses of all kinds, he added, across West Fife continued to rise in price while housebuilders round Dunfermline are also making up for lost time with continuing activity.
“They, too, are selling their product at premium prices, and incentives and special offers have all but disappeared as people tire of being outbid and turn to transactions in which they know exactly how much they will have to pay,” he said.
“Dunfermline and West Fife will remain a tempting prospect. However, as higher mortgage costs and soaring fuel bills suck available income out of the system, it is likely that house prices will become less crazy and settle down, though at substantially higher levels than three years ago.”