The Scottish housing market is still in a much better position than the rest of the UK to ride out the current financial crisis.

Reg MacDonald, who owns the Scottish franchise of estate agents Remax, said sellers were still achieving good prices but warned that further tightening of lending could have a severe impact.

'I am optimistic, but banks need to get lending again,” he said. “The system needs to be freed up.'

Amid the continuing crisis in worldwide financial markets, some mortgage providers increased rates last week despite a fall in inter-bank lending rates.

Figures also showed that the number of mortgage approvals in the UK had dropped by 64% on the same period last year.

But the picture is different in Scotland. The most recent Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show that 18,500 Scots took out a mortgage in the last quarter — an 18% rise on the previous three months.

Sunday Times