House prices continue to rise, but number of sales and properties coming to market drop back to pre-pandemic levels

The latest House Price Report from leading Scottish property portal ESPC has revealed an increasing demand for out-of-town properties among buyers.

ESPC House Price Report Nov 21-Jan 22. Pic: Hamish Campbell.
ESPC House Price Report Nov 21-Jan 22. Pic: Hamish Campbell.

The report, which looks at the property market across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders during the period November 2021-January 2022, also stated that the market had remained buoyant during this traditionally quiet period and there were still signs of growth, despite a levelling off after the raised interest following lockdown.

Paul Hilton, CEO of ESPC, said: “The three months of November-January are typically a slower period for the property market, but across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders it has remained buoyant on the whole. It’s been a quieter time as we would expect, but there have been positive signs of growth in comparison to the year before, when the market was affected by lockdowns and heightened competition.

“The market has seen lower sales volumes overall, and modest price increases on the whole, but we’ve seen a clear separation in the level of demand for family homes in the suburbs versus city-centre properties, with homes in Edinburgh’s south west and West Lothian becoming particularly sought-after.

“There’s promising signs of more first-time buyers stepping onto the market, with a rise in demand for flats in the likes of Abbeyhill, Meadowbank and Leith, where properties are traditionally more affordable but offer a vibrant, exciting place to call home.

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“Overall, Edinburgh’s market has seen signs of slowing down over this period, but out-of-town areas across the Lothians, Fife and the Borders have remained popular even during the typically quieter months.”

Average selling prices rose in out-of-town areas

The average selling price of property in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders experienced a modest 2.3% rise during November 2021-January 2022, taking the new average to £271,131 (up from £264,938 the year before).

Homes in West Lothian saw the biggest increase, as a 37.6% increase meant the new average selling price was £292,394, compared to £212,426 twelve months prior.

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By contrast, the Borders had the biggest decline in average selling price, decreasing 12.3% year-on-year to £218,796. However, as there was a larger volume of lower-priced properties coming to the market in the Borders during this period, this is likely to be the reason for the shift in prices.

Overall, Edinburgh’s average selling price rose 1.4%, to £286,147, however, there were variations within the capital; the city centre saw prices decrease 5.1% to £324,127, while the south western suburbs experienced a 17.6% increase, to £400,816.

There were some interesting trends in Edinburgh when property types were compared, presenting the varying levels of buyer demand. Three-bedroom houses in Currie, Balerno and Juniper Green saw an annual rise of 19.9%, with an average selling price of £391,080, while two-bedroom flats in Morningside and Merchiston also experienced a substantial leap, up 12.5% year-on-year to £333,326. One-bedroom flats in the flourishing Abbeyhill and Meadowbank areas also saw an increase in average selling prices, up 10.2% to £178,374.

By contrast, two bedroom flats in the New Town and West End, and in Portobello and Joppa, saw their average selling prices decline. New Town and West End properties dropped 6.3% to £414,259, while Portobello and Joppa flats declined 5.2% to £267,207.

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Overall, the most affordable property type was two-bedroom flats in Galashiels, with an average selling price of £82,553.

All regions saw a rise in the amount over Home Report valuation paid

Despite a quieter period for the market overall, properties continued to attain well over their Home Report valuations, with buyers paying 106.1% on average – 2.8 percentage points higher than the figures from 12 months prior. All regions within Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders saw an increase in the amount over Home Report valuation paid, signifying strong demand from home movers.

35.5% of properties went to a closing date, which is likely to have contributed to the level that buyers were willing to pay over valuation.

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Buyers paid the most over Home Report valuation for homes in East Fife and East Lothian; both of these areas saw an increase of 6.4 percentage points in comparison to November-January 2021/21. On average, properties in East Fife attained 108.5% of Home Report valuation, while East Lothian homes achieved 110.6%.

Looking at Edinburgh, the biggest increase in and amount paid over Home Report valuation was for homes in the south west of the city, where buyers paid 108.5% of valuation, 5.3 percentage points higher than the year before. Three-bedroom houses did particularly well in the capital; in Currie, Balerno and Juniper Green, buyers paid 113.6% of HRV (9.2 percentage points up on last year), while three-beds in Cramond, Barnton and Cammo attained 113.9% of valuation.

Conversely, demand for two-bedroom flats in the New Town and West End waned, with a 2.1 percentage points decrease meaning buyers paid 100.8% of Home Report valuation on average.

Properties sold quickly, with biggest demand for suburban family homes

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Despite November-January typically being a calmer time for the property market, homes across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders sold two days quicker than they did during the same time in the previous year, with a median selling time of 17 days.

Buyers in West Fife and Kinross were the fastest, with homes going under offer in a median time of just 12 days. The biggest change was seen in East Fife, where homes sold in 14 days – 22 days faster than the same time last year.

Edinburgh saw its median selling time rise by one day to 20 days, and all areas of Edinburgh, except one, reported a slower selling time. The south west of the city was the only exception, with homes here selling seven days quicker than November-January 2020/21, at 13 days.

The fastest-selling property type overall was three-bedroom houses in the Midlothian town of Gorebridge, where median selling times dropped by 10 days to just seven days.

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Sales volumes and property insertions declined across the quarter

Sales volumes across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders were down 22.5% year-on-year during November-January, as the market cooled in comparison to the exceptional levels of activity seen in the previous year, thanks to pent-up buyer demand. These levels are more in line with the pre-pandemic figures seen at the end of 2019.

Leith had the highest volume of property sales, with two-bedroom flats leading the charge, followed by one-bedroom flats – however levels for both were down year-on-year, by 18.3% and 37.5% respectively.

The level of new properties being listed for sale was also lower, with figures 11.4% lower than the same time last year. Dunfermline had the largest number of properties coming on to the market, with levels up 5.9% on November-January 2020/21.

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