THE Lothian housing market is to receive a fresh injection of more than 500 new homes in the next 12 months.
Housebuilder Barratt has announced plans to begin breaking ground at four sites in the region with 90 homes in Blackchapel, 60 at Westerwood Park in Dalkeith, 220 at Newcraighall North and 87 at Eliburn, Livingston.
The move has been billed as further evidence of a recovering housing market boosted by the Help to Buy scheme. Barratt Group sold homes across the UK worth £1.3 billion in the final six months of 2013.
Including its Lothian plans, the company is aiming to open 21 new sites across Scotland in the next 12 months that would bring a total of more than 2000 new homes.
Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, said: “We have made a lot of changes to the homes we are building and that really seems to be paying off. We are building a wide variety of homes to suit our customers’ needs and in great locations across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
“It is clear that plenty of customers think now is a great time to take their next step on the property ladder. The availability and publicity around five per cent deposit, low interest rate mortgages – through schemes such as the government-backed Help to Buy scheme – have helped to create a surge in inquiries.
He added: “Since the start of the New Year we have been extremely busy with buyer inquiries. That means we can increase production which is an economic boost for the communities within which we’re building as well.”
This renewed market confidence is reflected in the latest figures released by Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre, which reveal that during the three months from December to February the number of homes sold across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife rose by more than 90 per cent annually.
It is thought that this has been caused by the market throughout much of 2013 being carried by a rise in sales of smaller properties.
This is now having a knock-on effect further up the property ladder, resulting in a rise in the number of homes selling across the board.
For example, in Edinburgh the number of one-bedroom flats sold rose by 92 per cent annually, while at the other end of the scale the number of four-bedroom houses sold in the Capital was more than 130 per cent higher than was recorded a year ago. Across Edinburgh, the average house price between December and February rose by just over five per cent annually to £202,163.
David Marshall, business analyst with ESPC, said: “Demand in the housing market has increased significantly over the last 12 months and this naturally means that sellers are now in a stronger position than has been the case for a number of years.”