Demand for Edinburgh homes continues to rise as property market ends year with steady growth

After a year of unprecedented activity, the housing market across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife andthe Borders saw a steady conclusion in December, with a 2% increase in average selling prices, taking the average to £273,238.

Demand for properties remained high towards the end of the year with people happy to pay more to secure a deal. Pic: Hamish Campbell.

Leading property portal ESPC’s latest monthly House Price Report, which took a look at the property market in the area over the past three months and at the year’s end, also showed that while properties continued to sell quickly and prices rose, there were fewer properties on the market and the volume of sales actually reduced by a fifth in comparison to 2020.

However, the demand for homes in Edinburgh continued to rise during October-December 2021, with prices rising 1.3% year-on-year, taking the average selling price in the capital to £288,706.

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Within the city, homes in the south west were particularly popular, with selling prices rising 8.1% to a new average of £371,061. Family homes were especially sought-after; three-bedroom houses in Corstorphine, Clermiston, South Gyle and East Craigs experienced a year-on-year rise of 20.9%, and in Currie, Balerno and Juniper Green, the average selling price of this property type increased 20.3%.

Fewer properties came on to the market but those that did continued to sell quickly. Pic: Hamish Campbell.

However, flats in the city were also more popular with buyers. Two-bedroom flats in the coveted neighbourhoods of Morningside and Merchiston experienced a rise of 13.7%, taking the average selling price to £340,894, meanwhile, the first-time buyer-friendly areas of Leith Walk, Easter Road, Pilrig and Bonnington saw a 7.2% increase in selling price of one bedroom flats, with a new average of £177,836.

Properties in West Lothian saw the largest increase in average selling price during October-December, with homes rising 15.8% to £258,909, as buyers sought more affordable properties with easy access to Edinburgh and the wider central belt.

Homes in the Borders experienced a 12.5% decline in average selling price, compared to October-December 2020, however, this can be attributed to a larger volume of smaller properties coming on to the market, rather than an overall reduction in value, while the most affordable property type could be found in Dunfermline, where one-bedroom flats had an average selling price of £80,988, an ideal option for first-time buyers and property investors alike.

Buyers pay over the Home Report valuation as demand intensifies

During October-December, buyers keen to secure a move before the end of 2021 acted accordingly to guarantee their chosen homes. Buyers across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders paid 106.9% of the Home Report valuation on average, an increase of 3.1 percentage points compared tothe same time in 2020.

Buyers paid the most over valuation for properties in East Lothian, where they paid 111% on average, an increase of 6.4 percentage points, while the largest increase in the amount paid was in East Fife, where properties attained 7.2 percentage points more than in 2020, an average of 109% of Home Report valuation paid.

In the capital, properties attained an average of 106.2% of Home Report valuation – a year-on-year increase of 1.9 percentage points. Three-bedroom houses in Currie, Balerno and Juniper Green had the highest levels of demand, with buyers paying 116% of valuation, an increase of 12.2 percentage points when compared to October-December 2020.

Homes sold faster as buyers raced to complete before the year’s end

The traditional rush to complete before Hogmanay continued in 2021, as buyers and sellers moved quickly to ensure sales went through. During October-December, the median selling time across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders dropped to 16 days, two days quicker than the same time in 2020.

Homes in West Fife and Kinross went under offer the fastest, with a median selling time of just 11 days – two days quicker than in 2020, while the biggest change was in East Fife, where the median selling time dropped by 22 days, taking the new median to 17 days. Properties in the Borders were also snapped up quickly, with a ten-day reduction in the median selling time – just 19 days compared to 29 in 2020.

Looking at Edinburgh, the median selling times for many areas stayed the same as in 2020, however, homes in the south west of the city sold eight days faster, with a median selling time of 13 days, and in contrast, properties in the city centre took four days longer to sell than in 2020, at a median time of 29 days.

Four-bedroom houses in Corstorphine and Dunfermline sold the fastest overall, with a median selling time of only eight days, and demand was high, with 35.3% of homes going to a closing date during October-December.

Sales volumes and property listings both reduced as the year came to a close

A traditionally quieter period of the year, sales volumes and new property listings both decreased during October-December 2021 across the area, with overall, sales volumes down 20.5% year-on-year, while insertions saw a 25% reduction – a sign perhaps that the property market is returning to more ‘normal’ expected levels of activity.

The property type that sold in the highest volume was two-bedroom flats in Leith, but this figure was down 6.1% on the same time in 2020, while Dunfermline was the area with the largest number of new properties listed for sale, but again, this figure was lower than in 2020, with a reduction in volume of 18.4%.

Paul Hilton, CEO of ESPC, said: “The last quarter of the year is traditionally always a quieter period, with less homes coming onto the market and less buyers actively searching for a new home. It’s reassuring to see that patterns of activity have still been high during this time, but returning more to the levels we would expect to see around this time of year.

"We would also expect to see a pattern showing an increase in urgency, such as quicker selling times and higher levels of Home Report valuation attained, as buyers and sellers are usually keen to complete ahead of the festive season. Our latest figures show that this was once more the case across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders, which hints that the latest Covid guidelines have not impacted the desire to move home at the current time.

“While there is continuing popularity for homes outside of the capital, it’s good to see buoyant activity levels for properties in Edinburgh, after a turbulent year. Family homes and city-centre flats have been especially popular, and we hope to see continuing demand for homes in the city into 2022.

“For buyers starting out on their property journey, Leith and the surrounding neighbourhoods, and Dunfermline, both offer great opportunities in terms of pricing and the volumes of available properties.”

For more from ESPC, or to view properties currently on the market, visit espc.com.