Lothians properties sell faster after referendum

THE average selling time for homes across Lothian has plummeted by nearly half with experts hailing a post-referendum boost to the property market.

Wednesday, 15th October 2014, 12:45 pm
Buyers are back after a slow month in the property market in August. Picture: Callum Bennetts

Homeowners can expect to conclude property deals within five weeks rather than the average eight-week wait seen during the same period last year.

The figures revealed by Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) also showed a 13 per cent rise in homes being sold across the Capital.

House prices have risen by 3.6 per cent this year with the average city home now valued at £220,174.

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Over the past three months, two-thirds of properties have met or exceeded their value – up from 40 per cent last year.

While the news will raise a smile for existing homeowners, the trend is likely to further hamper the efforts of struggling first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Edward Douglas-Home, a partner at Knight Frank estate agents in the Capital, said the previously buoyant market slowed on the run up to the independence referendum.

He said: “The second televised debate had the biggest impact on buyers, and as the polls started to slide many people decided to hold off until after the result.

“Following the No vote, people have started to relax again, particularly concerning higher-value properties, and in terms of sales the market has certainly bounced back as a result.

“It’s now very much business as usual.”

City centre properties have experienced the sharpest spike in value this year rising by 11.8 per cent to £262,030. Prices in Leith and Stockbridge have shot up by 9.1 per cent and 8.4 per cent respectively.

ESPC’s business development manager, David Marshall, said the sales of flats and small houses were largely responsible for the momentum across the market.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see sales of smaller properties improving as this was an area where conditions were especially challenging for sellers in the wake of the economic downturn,” he said.

“Between July and September we saw sales of one bedroom flats jump by more than 30 per cent annually and the rise in activity here will have a positive knock-on effect further up the ladder.”

Gordon Fowlis, regional managing director of estate agents Your Move, suggested that “the powerful spell of growth cast over the Scottish property market” had been adversely impacted by the vote on Scotland’s future.

LSL Property Services echoed this claim reporting that the average cost of a city home dropped by 0.3 per cent in the weeks prior to September 18 – the first time prices have fallen for 12 months.

“It’s been an unpredictable and momentous few months in Scotland’s history,” Mr Fowlis said.

“In August, uncertainty was still rife over the outcome of the independence referendum and this hindered the pace of activity in the housing market.

“But this didn’t poison the longer-term health of the market.”

Across the month of August, there were 15 properties in Scotland that sold for a figure in excess of £1 million – nine were in the Capital.

In East Lothian, the cost of an average house has risen almost 2 per cent to £221,129. Terraced properties in Midlothian have seen sales increase by 38 per cent year-on-year.