The local property market showed few signs of cooling down during the last month despite the best efforts of the ‘Beast from the East’. As Warners’ market report earlier in March showed, most properties for sale in Edinburgh and the Lothians are selling quickly and achieving selling prices well in excess of their Home Report valuation.
Across the rest of the UK the picture is a little different however. Here’s a round-up of what the major property market reports to help you make sense of what’s happening around the country.
ESPC House Price Report
Average House Price: £229,007 (up 5.6% annually)
ESPC’s latest house price report, which covers properties sold between December and February, showed that the average price of a property sold in East Central Scotland during that period was £229,007 following an annual rise of 5.6%. Although still high, it’s worth noting that the rate of growth here is down from 7.2%
The number of homes being marketed and sold was also found to have decreased with sales and listings both 3% lower than they were a year ago.
Halifax House Price Index: February 2018
Average House Price: £224,353 (up 1.8% annually)
The latest Halifax House Price Index found that annual growth in house prices across the UK slowed last month. A 2.2% annual rise in January was followed by an increase of just 1.8% in February. The report notes that the market has been supported by a strengthening in Employment figures and that “(t)he strength of the jobs market may finally be benefitting wage growth, with the annual growth rate accelerating from 2.3% in November to 2.8% in December. However, earnings are rising at a slower rate than consumer prices”
Nationwide House Price Index: February 2018
Average House Price: £210,402 (up 2.2% annually)
Nationwide’s February House Price Index paints a similar picture to the Halifax report. House prices rose in February but the annual rate of growth (2.2%) was lower than the figure of 3.2% recorded in January. UK house prices are still rising but the rate of growth has slowed.
Looking ahead, the latest report says that “subdued economic activity” is expected to constrain the housing market somewhat during 2018 but that “market activity is anticipated to slow only modestly, since unemployment and mortgage interest rates are expected to remain low by historic standards. Similarly, the lack of properties on the market is likely to provide ongoing support for house prices. Overall, we expect house prices to be broadly flat, with a marginal gain of around 1% over the course of 2018”.
RICS UK Residential Market Survey: February 2018
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Market Survey is a little different to most market reports. Rather than examining what is happening to selling prices or asking prices, it assesses the opinions of surveyors. Because of this it can sometimes be a useful indicator of forthcoming trends in the market as surveyors are on the front line when it comes to assessing property valuations and seeing the number of homes being bought and sold.
Their latest report shows that across the UK the number of new buyer enquiries fell for the 11th consecutive month. Much of this decrease was focussed on areas like East Anglia and the East Midlands where a vast majority of surveyors reported that buyer enquiries were falling.
By contrast, in Scotland and the North of England, most surveyors indicated that the number of new buyer enquiries was on the rise.
Rounding Up the Reports
Last month we noted that the market reports showed a clear discrepancy between what is happening in the local property market and what is happening at a UK-wide level. That is still the case, with the RICS report in particular highlighting the disparity in trends in different areas of the country.
Most properties for sale in Edinburgh and the Lothians are selling quickly, achieving significant premiums above valuation and house prices are rising fairly quickly. Across the UK as a whole activity is more subdued and annual house price inflation is actually below the rate of CPI inflation.
Moving forward, we continue to expect the local market to cool somewhat and that there will be greater balance between supply and demand in the months ahead. As a result, house price inflation in Edinburgh and the Lothians should begin to fall to between 2 and 3% later in the year.
If you're thinking of buying or selling a property, or if you have a question about the housing market, get in touch today on 0131 667 0232 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be delighted to help.