Edinburgh property sales at six-year high

Edinburgh property sales are at a six-year high. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Edinburgh property sales are at a six-year high. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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The number of homes sold in the Capital is at its highest level for six years – the strongest sign yet that the market is on its way to recovery.

An ESPC report reveals the total number of homes snapped up between July and September in the Lothians rose 43.8 per cent compared to last year’s figure.

There was a particular surge in sales of one- and two- ­bedroom flats, fuelled by investors and first-time buyers.

Total sales during the third quarter were at their highest level since pre-crunch 2007 – and in most areas there was a modest growth in house price too. David Marshall, business analyst with ESPC, said all the signs are there that confidence is back in the market.

He said: “The market is showing encouraging signs with the return of first-time buyers and investors, evident in the increase in sales of one and two-bedroom flats in the Capital. The percentage of sales where the valuation is achieved or exceeded has been steadily rising as market conditions for sellers have improved, however the majority of properties are still selling for less than the Home Report valuation.

“On average, properties in the Capital are selling for 2.4 per cent less than their Home Report valuation compared to 4.3 per cent a year ago.”

In Edinburgh there was a 53.3 per cent annual rise in the number of two bedroom flats sold while sales of one bedroom flats in the Capital increased by more than 56 per cent annually. The average price of a house in the Capital is now £212,429 – with a two bedroom property in Marchmont or Bruntsfield going for around £253,157.

The number of sellers coming on to the market has also increased, though at the more modest rate of 11.8 per cent.

As a result, market conditions are more favourable for sellers.

Ben Fox, of Savills Edinburgh, said a number of factors were responsible. He said: “Prime property has certainly reached a turning point and is now attracting more buyers from London and further afield attracted by realistic prices and value for money in the Capital. However, there are plenty of examples of local buyers who are feeling more confident and are taking advantage of improved mortgage lending to move up the property ladder.”

However, Graham White, of East Lothian-based GSB Properties, issued a note of caution. He said: “What we are finding is there is a chain effect – when one house sells the owner goes and sells another one until the end of the chain. We are happy that’s happening but we have to proceed with caution as when chains are involved, one little slip-up with a mortgage and the whole thing can fall through.”

Speed-dating a home

A NEW craze where social housing tenants “speed-date” their way to a new home is about to hit the Capital.

The speed-dating sessions see people sport badges saying what type of house they have – allowing them to swap by mutual consent if they “spot something they fancy”.

House Exchange manager Kim Doran believes the fun sessions provide a way of simplifying the moving process.

She said: “Swapping your home through a mutual exchange can be the perfect solution if you are desperate to find a bigger or smaller home or need to move to be closer to work or family.

“Our speed dating is a fun way of showing tenants that swapping their homes can be a much simpler way of moving and we can’t wait to show social housing tenants how easy it can really be. ”

People who attend House Exchange’s events follow the similar rules to those laid out in romantic speed-dating.

The details of their curerent home are also on the badges the participants wear.

House Exchange arranges swaps between any willing council and housing association tenant. More than 2700 homes in and around Edinburgh are already registered on its website. A number of the sessions are planned for the City Art Centre.

One potential participant – Amelie Worseley, 44, of Clovenstone, said: “It sounds like good fun and a novel idea. It’s something I’m certainly willing to give a go.”

The part time shop worker and mum-of-two added: “Who knows, I might find my dream home.”

Rugby star kicks off as developer

EDINBURGH and Scotland rugby player Tim Visser is proving he’s scrum-thing else – by taking up property development.

He has taken advantage of the change in the market by buying and then renovating a property in Morningside.

Tim, 26, who lives with his wife Laura, both above, and two dogs in a new-build development off Ferry Road, snapped up the two-bedroom flat in Springvalley Gardens earlier this year.

He explained: “I have always admired Morningside and see it as a larger version of Stockbridge with many of the same period features. The only problem is we’ve made it such a nice flat we want to live there ourselves.”