A growing sense of realism among house buyers and sellers in Scotland is helping to encourage recovery in the property market, according to Edinburgh’s leading property solicitor.
Warners – the number one firm in the ESPC – believes that homebuyers and sellers have become more realistic about their expectations over house prices and the state of the market, which has led to an increase in property sales and listings across the country.
The firm highlights figures revealed by the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC), which show that property sales and listings have been growing year-on-year for the past three months.
The stats show that in February a total of 709 new properties were listed in Edinburgh (up 125% on 2009 levels), while in March there were 1011 new properties listed (up 91.5% on 2009), and in April there were 997 new property listings (up 97%)
Property sales have also been steadily increasing in recent months. The stats show that there were 257 sales in February (up 21.2% on February 2009), 406 sales in March (up 23.4%) and 454 sales in April (up 37.2%).
Scott Brown, estate agency partner at Warners, said that the figures showed that the property market was continuing its steady recovery and suggested that this was due to more realism among buyers and sellers.
He explained: “We are seeing a lot of new property coming onto the market at the moment, as confidence continues to grow among sellers. Likewise, the number of property sales is rising and we are seeing more homes being sold than during the same period in 2009. Indeed, Warners have sold nearly 250 properties in the year to date, as against 160 in the same period in 2009. That is significant progress and we are actually out-performing the market as a whole as our sales have grown by approximately 50 per cent in the year to date. I suspect that extra growth is simply down to the proactive approach to selling that Warners take.
“This is excellent news for the property market in Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians and proof that there is still plenty of activity despite the economic conditions. Buyers and sellers have become more realistic about how much they expect to receive or pay for a property, and this is allowing more sales to take place. Furthermore, we are also seeing more competition for property too which is healthy.
“Although the lending conditions are still very challenging, they are a lot better than they were even six months ago – and this means that more first time buyers are finding that they are able to make their first step on the property ladder. This is good news for the market, as every one of these entry level sales is helping to stimulate transactions further up the property chain.
“In addition, a lot of people are also starting to view the current conditions as the right time to put their homes up for sale, and we have therefore seen a surge in the number of new listings. It’s yet another sign that confidence is returning to the market.”
However, despite the increased activity in the property market, Scott adds that the figures should also be tempered with a little caution. He says that, as the number of new listings in Edinburgh has been double the number of sales over the past few months, this could create surpluses of properties and slow the market down a little later in the year.
He adds: “The current situation is very positive and nearly every property solicitor and estate agent in Scotland would have bitten your hand off if they’d been offered these market conditions last year. However, it’s important to be cautious about what the future will hold.
“The number of new property listings is currently double the number of property sales in Edinburgh and, while this is a relatively stable state for the market, there could be trouble ahead if listings continue to rise.
“If more people enter the market and put properties up for sale – and that supply is not met by a rise in demand – then there is a chance that we will see the market reach its saturation point. When this happens, it’s possible that house prices will decrease as more sellers will be competing for buyers. That said, there is a normally a higher level of listings at this time of year and I therefore remain positive in my outlook for the property market both locally and throughout Scotland as a whole”.
Warners, which has four property shops in Edinburgh, has been the Capital’s leading property solicitor in terms of property sales and listings for the past 11 years.