Comment: '˜Offers over' market either a dream or a nightmare

REMEMBER the days when the property market in Edinburgh really seemed to take leave of its senses.

Friday, 13th May 2016, 10:47 am
Updated Friday, 13th May 2016, 1:07 pm
File picture: Alex Hewitt
File picture: Alex Hewitt

It wasn’t so long ago, only about ten years. Sorry tales of desperate would-be buyers bidding for 20 homes or more and being beaten to the punch every time were not uncommon. Even the pokiest of flats were selling for 30, 40, 50 per cent over the asking price or even more.

They were days when some folk felt like they had won the lottery when they sold their home for far more than they ever dreamed was possible. Only to come back down to earth with a bump when they found they needed all their “profit” and more in order to buy the kind of house they wanted to move on up the property ladder.

The return of “offers over” as the default method for selling your home in the Capital, as we report today, is either a dream or a nightmare depending on where you sit.

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Property owners looking to cash in on what they own in Edinburgh, perhaps to downsize or to move to a more affordable part of the country can afford to rub their hands together. But for everyone else it is not so good. Moving up the property ladder only becomes harder rather than easier as sales turn into bidding wars and prices rise.

And if you are looking to buy your first home the news will simply make your heart sink. Many young people will be wondering how far into their 30s they will be before they can contemplate having enough money to put down a deposit on their first home. No wonder one lender has just announced it is to offer mortgages that will last until you are 85!

A return to rampant house price inflation is in no-one’s interests. The fact so many people are struggling to scrape together the deposit needed to buy their first home will at least act as a break on rising prices.

But the housing crisis remains a tough fact of life for thousands across the Capital, especially the young. The answer lies in building more homes to meet the growing demand.

That demand – from people living longer, from the ever increasing numbers who are attracted to the high quality of life and career opportunities that Edinburgh has to offer – is not going to go away. We need to build more homes.