Edinburgh property market 'showing signs of recovery'

EDINBURGH's property market is showing signs of recovery, according to local estate agents, as new figures revealed property prices across Scotland had risen for the first time since October 2007.

Property experts in Scotland are reporting some signs of recovery with the volume of house sales increasing.

And the Nationwide building society said that property prices were up almost one per cent in March, with the average home now costing 150,946.

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The 0.9 per cent increase was described as a "surprise bounce" and the group warned against drawing early conclusions that the market has changed across the country.

Some local estate agents however have seen recent sales figures doubling those of January and February.

Edinburgh-based firm Warners revealed they carried out 29 private property sales in March which in total were worth more than 5 million – including, for the first time in 2009, two consecutive weeks when property sales hit double figures.

Scott Brown, estate agency partner, said the statistics showed that many buyers in Edinburgh were continuing to look for homes as they are more likely to secure a property for below its fixed price value.

He said: "We're starting to see a bit of confidence returning to the market.

"With all the negative reports about the state of our property market, the common perception is that there's nobody buying homes at all at the moment, but this isn't true.

"We have had weeks when we were only selling four or five properties and the total value of these sales was below the 1 million mark.

"The run-up to Easter is traditionally a fairly quiet time for property sales, so we are very pleased with these new figures."

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But, Mr Brown agreed with the Nationwide warning on being too optimistic of the market returning to full health just yet.

He said: "I think it's still too early to suggest that this is the start of a full recovery in the property market – especially as many firms' sales figures are still down by around 50 per cent on the peak figures from 2007 and early 2008."

A spokesman for the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) backed up the view that selling prices in Edinburgh were holding steady.

He said: "Even though the volume of sales is still down rather significantly there is some levelling off in the last three months.

"Overall the rate of annual fall in Edinburgh has declined."