THE city property market is set for an injection of fresh blood over the coming years, with forecasters predicting a surge in first-time buyers.
New figures show that 82 per cent of people living in Edinburgh and the Lothians are planning to move or buy a home in the next five years in what property experts have hailed as an important step for the market.
Experts believe that twice as many first-time buyers are likely to come on to the market compared with homeowners looking to sell an existing property and move on.
The number of potential home buyers has shot up 55 per cent in the last year, giving an impression of increased confidence despite the straitened economic climate.
From a survey of 650 people, 76 per cent suggested they would consider moving from their existing property while a further six per cent said they would potentially buy a property as an investment or for a relative.
The survey also revealed that 37 per cent of people described themselves as “very” or “reasonably” active in the property market, with 14 per cent thinking about buying a property within 12 months.
Neil Harrison, marketing manager with ESPC, which commissioned the survey, said: “The health of the property market is measured by the number of people who can bring their house to market and are willing to move.
“The last few years has been a buyers’ market, with prices often discounted from the home report evaluation and with all the economic uncertainty people have been delaying moving home.
“First-time buyers have been discouraged from the property market because they have had to save up a deposit. We are seeing more and more people coming along who have saved up their pennies and have the deposit to get a mortgage deal.
“These people are very important to the property market. Previous research shows that one first-time buyer triggers four or five sales up the property ladder so there’s a ripple effect.”
He added that the likely increase in the volume of properties on the market would not translate into homes fetching higher prices.
“There remains a strong desire for people to be homeowners and people do still see property as something they want to invest in,” said Mr Harrison. “People are realising that the days of rapid price inflation are gone.
“Interestingly, when buying or selling, respondents to the survey said that online, showrooms and shop windows were equally important to the search. With the majority of buyers of property already living in the area, it is vital that when advertising a home for sale, sellers take a local focus and build on local experience by advertising online, in print and on the high street.”