HOMES worth a total of almost £3 billion changed hands in the Capital last year as property sales soared.
New figures from Registers of Scotland show 11,991 homes were bought and sold in Edinburgh in 2015, up 8.3 per cent on the previous year and more than anywhere else in Scotland.
The average price in Edinburgh was also the highest in Scotland at £238,036, an increase of 4.9 per cent from the £227,023 figure for 2014.
The total market value of the property exchanged in the Capital was £2,854,284,155 – a 13.6 per cent increase on the 2014 figure of £2,513,595,738
But David Alexander, of city estate agents DJ Alexander, urged caution in interpreting the figures as evidence of a booming market.
He said there had been a surge of sales ahead of the introduction of the Scottish Government’s new Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) on April 1, which would affect the figures. “We have to be slightly careful because of the big push before LBTT,” he said.
“Yes, the figures are encouraging; yes, Edinburgh is very popular; and at the lower end of the market things are moving very well. But there has been quite a drop-off at the top end of the market. A lot of people bought and sold before April 1.”
Mr Alexander said some people who were thinking of moving were deciding instead to stay where they were and perhaps extend their property.
He said: “The aspirational move – moving to East Lothian for a few years, then moving back – is just not possible any more.”
Kenny Crawford, Registers of Scotland’s director of commercial services, said the residential property market continued to make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.
“In 2015, the market totalled £16.5bn, an increase of 8.2 per cent on the previous year.
“The Edinburgh property market represented over 17.2 per cent of this figure, bringing in over £2.8bn to the Scottish economy.
“This is significantly larger than the next biggest property market, Glasgow, with 9.8 per cent of the market at £1.6bn.”
The Registers of Scotland figures also show the average price of a residential property in Scotland rose by 3.6 per cent last year to £169,402.
The biggest rise in average price was in West Lothian – up 9.1 per cent from £147,628 to £161,014.
The area also saw a 10 per cent rise in the volume of sales from 2802 to 3083 and a 20 per cent rise in the total market value to £496 million. Midlothian saw a 5.9 per cent increase in average price from £173,513 to £183,720, while the volume of sales rose by 4.9 per cent from 1584 to 1661 and the market value was up 11 per cent to £305 million.
In East Lothian, sales were up 7.7 per cent from 1732 to 1866, with the average price increasing 2.8 per cent from £209,962 to £215,822 and market value up 10.7 per cent to £402 million.