Sellers facing tough time as property market stalls

PROPERTY experts have warned of a long stagnation ahead in the Capital’s housing market after the latest figures were revealed.

Tuesday, 8th May 2012, 1:26 pm

In the three months to April, the average house price in Edinburgh was up just one per cent on the same time last year, at £209,065, according to the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC).

The number of properties sold was up 12 per cent, but experts said this was because sellers had resigned themselves to accepting lower offers, rather than holding out for their valuation.

It follows the news in April that the number of sales had reached a four-year high. The ESPC announced last month that 1400 homes had been sold between January and March, up from 1000 four years earlier.

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Some areas saw a sharp downturn in prices. In Leith Walk and Easter Road, the average price of a one-bedroom flat fell by 14.9 per cent annually, undoing the sharp rise in prices there a year ago.

Stockbridge and Comely Bank also saw a drop, with the average for a two-bedroom flat down 7.5 per cent at £207,688.

Business analyst for ESPC, David Marshall, said: “For the most part the value of smaller properties have fallen as activity from both first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors is still relatively low.

“On the other hand, the value of larger, family homes have risen in many areas, with buyers of these properties generally less affected by factors such as restrictions in mortgage availability.”

Steven Currie, a director of property firm Murray and Currie, said he expected the overall stagnation in the market to continue for some time.

“The reality is that the sales market is in a continued tough time,” he said. “There’s no evidence to suggest that the sales market is going to sit up and flourish.

“It’s back to the old days where if you want something, you’re going to have to save for it and be financially sound for it. There’s no quick fix.”

Mr Marshall also said the increased number of sales was due to a more realistic attitude by vendors.

“Sellers whose homes have been on the market for a while are now showing a willingness to accept a lower offer for their property.

“One in five homes sold over the last three months were secured for more than ten per cent below their Home Report valuation, with most of these being properties that had been on the market for more than four months. ”