THE Capital has lost its crown as the most expensive place to buy a house in Scotland as property experts declare it a “buyer’s market”.
Edinburgh property prices fell by 5.8 per cent last year, putting the average sale at £212,607, compared with £215,300 in East
Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) has claimed the reason for the swing is largely down to the market becoming more “accurate”.
Neil Harrison, of ESPC, said: “Buyers are using market conditions to their advantage to negotiate lower selling prices with sellers. Almost 80 per cent of homes sold during the last three months were secured for less than their Home Report valuation.
“It’s a buyer’s market out there now. There is still value to be found by those who are looking to upgrade as a 5.8 per cent loss suffered on a £200,000 house will be recouped when buying, say, a £300,000 house.
“There has been a slight increase in the percentage of sales where the Home Report valuation is achieved, but the majority of properties are still selling for less than valuation.”
Across Scotland, house prices fell 1.5 per cent in a year, despite the number of sales increasing. Registers of Scotland (RoS) said the average price of a residential property in the final quarter of last year was £154,810, down almost £2500 from the same period in 2011.
Rhona Mackay, head of commercial services at RoS, said: “When one house changes hands now it has more of an influence on the statistics than it would have seven or eight years ago, and that could be the case in Inverclyde with a couple of houses changing hands at the high end of the market influencing the average figure.”
A total of 20,355 properties were sold in Scotland in 2012, up 2.7 per cent on 2011.
In Edinburgh, 2189 properties were sold – up 4.9 per cent – while in Midlothian 314 were sold and East Lothian 409, comprising a 19.4 per cent and 16.5 per cent rise respectively.
The latest ESPC house price report also revealed that the total number of homes sold across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife during the last three months of 2012 rose by 11.3 per year to the highest fourth-quarter level since 2007.
In East Lothian and Midlothian, prices were also below 2011 levels. A 2.2 per cent fall in East Lothian took the average house price to £187,370, while in Midlothian an annual decrease of 3.7 per cent brought the average to £163,207.
Mr Harrison added: “We’ve seen a similar drop in average house prices in Edinburgh over the same period as those recently unveiled by Registers of Scotland, although with a slight uplift in the number of houses selling in 2012.”
LETTING SERVICE LAUNCHED
ESPC has decided to launch its own lettings service.
Market trends show that more people are becoming landlords, while tenants are also renting for longer as they save the deposit for their first home.
ESPC chief executive Malcolm Cannon said: “The majority of people still aspire to owning their own home, however current practice demands high deposits to secure a mortgage, therefore people are choosing to rent for longer. Buy-to-let is becoming an increasingly attractive investment opportunity where the returns can be higher.”