ESPC: Housing market sees rising selling prices in first quarter since lockdown restrictions eased

ESPC: Housing market sees rising selling prices in first quarter since lockdown restrictions eased

From July 1 to September 30, the average selling price in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was £266,149, up 5.2 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to property consultant ESPC.

This is also an increase compared to the first quarter of the year, during which the average selling price was £240,689.  

In Edinburgh, the average selling price rose by 3 per cent year-on-year to £283,453. Properties in the Borders and East Lothian experienced the greatest year-on-year increases in average selling price, up 16.2 per cent and 15.4 per cent respectively. Properties in Midlothian saw an increase of 7.9 per cent, while properties in West Fife & Kinross saw an increase of 8.8 per cent.  

The past three months has seen a significant spike in the number of homes coming to market, up 48.2 per cent year-on-year. In Edinburgh, there has been a 55.9 per cent increase. This is to be expected due to lockdown restrictions preventing homes coming to market during the spring months, which would normally be a busy time of year for the property market.  

However, in the past three months there has been a 32.3 per cent drop in sales volume. This appears to be because of the sales and mortgage process taking longer than usual, due to the high volumes of activity after lockdown. Over the past three months, there has been a year-on-year uplift in the number of homes placed under offer.  

Out of the homes brought to market, 88.1 per cent were marketed as “offers over” compared to just 80.7 per cent last year, which indicates confidence in current market conditions from agents and sellers.  

On average, properties in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders achieved 103.6 per cent of Home Report valuation compared to 103.2 per cent. 83.6 per cent of properties in these areas were sold for at least Home Report valuation compared to 77.7 per cent last year.

The median selling time of properties in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was 21 days, the same as last year. In Edinburgh, it was 19 days, also the same as last year. Properties in West Fife & Kinross saw the greatest reduction in selling time, at 21 days compared to 27 days last year.  

The top-selling property in terms of volume was three bedroom houses in Dunfermline, followed by two bedroom flats in Leith and one-bedroom flats in Leith. Dunfermline and Leith were also the areas with the greatest volume of new homes coming to market.  

Paul Hilton, CEO of ESPC, said: “It’s been three months since restrictions were relaxed on the Scottish property market, and it’s fair to say activity has surged during that time. There has been a significant uplift in the number of homes coming to market while ESPC agents have reported being exceptionally busy with enquiries from buyers and sellers.  

“Properties are selling well, with the average selling price up compared to last year and the first quarter of 2020. The increases in average selling price are particularly notable in the Scottish Borders and East Lothian.  

“The sales volume over the last quarter is down compared to last year. However, that appears to be to do with the sales and mortgage process taking longer than usual due to high volumes, as we are seeing an increase in the number of homes placed under offer year-on-year.” 

He added: “Some of the online figures we monitor to gauge buyer and seller engagement are still significantly up compared to last year, which suggests that strong interest in buying and selling remains.  

“October brings the end of the furlough scheme and the First Home Fund is also closing to applications for this year, although it will be reopened next year. The First Home Fund has been useful for many first time buyers who might have struggled to save enough for the higher deposits currently required by lenders. This could therefore impact the demand levels for property, resulting in a drop in activity.  

“However, based on the high levels of activity we have seen in recent months and what’s happened in the past, the Edinburgh and wider Scottish property market appears in a relatively stable position to tackle the economic uncertainties of the next quarter.” 

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