EVIDENCE has emerged that the Capital’s property market has “turned a corner” after it was revealed that house prices across the city are showing signs of strengthening.
Property experts in Edinburgh have hailed the figures, unveiled in the latest Registers of Scotland (RoS) quarterly statistical report, and said they were “extremely positive and encouraging”.
The Capital enjoyed a 7.3 per cent jump in the value of property transactions – sales of £335 million made the city Scotland’s largest market – with average house prices rising by a little more than one per cent.
Midlothian saw the sharpest price increase in Scotland as the average leapt nine per cent to nearly £184,000.
Matthew Munro, partner at Knight Frank Edinburgh (city sales), said: “For the first time in five years we have a market again. There’s been a phenomenal improvement in the level of inquiries and, therefore, in turnover.”
However, although the report painted a generally positive picture, prices in some areas are struggling to recover from the economic downturn.
Properties in West Lothian are stuck on a negative trend, slumping 2.7 per cent from £135,000 to just below £132,000. The market also continued to weaken in East Lothian, where the average price in the fourth quarter of the 2012-13 financial year dropped 1.3 per cent to £183,857.
But RoS researchers found the total volume of sales across Scotland between January and March of this year had risen five per cent on the same period in 2012.
“There’s been a total resurgence in inquiries and interest, and we have a lot of inquiries coming in now from down south and overseas,” said Mr Munro. “The market is still price sensitive and sellers have to be conscious of that but as long as a property is sensibly priced and well presented, then there will be a market for it.”
Scott Brown, estate agency partner at Warners, said the RoS figures indicated the wider economy was at a “tilting point”. He said: “There’s a feeling that the economy is about to start moving forward and I think people are saying, ‘let’s lock into the rates on offer now before they go up’.
“There’s been the question of job security in the past but people are now feeling they have to make a move – that they can’t put life on hold forever.”
A quarterly report from Rettie and Co also showed strong improvement to the market, particularly in residential and market turnover, although they said a significant problem was the lack of new supply.
Managing director Simon Rettie said: “There has been an improvement in market sentiment and confidence from the beginning of January. We have seen a number of occasions where home report valuations are exceeded, which is a positive indication of some momentum returning to the market.”