House hunters in Edinburgh have gone on a buyer frenzy as greater consumer confidence fuels a surge in the city’s property market.
Warners, which has held the unofficial title as Edinburgh’s leading property solicitor estate agent for 14 consecutive years since 1999, measured in terms of property sales as recorded by ESPC, has secured in excess of 100 sales since the start of the year.
The rise in sales is being matched with evidence of more closing dates as increased competition returns to the housing market.
Estate Agency Consultant Scott Brown said reaching the happy 100 figure underlines the recovery of Edinburgh’s property sector to 2008 pre-credit crunch crash.
He said: “Across Edinburgh, Lothians and Fife, sales remain buoyant with the number of listings and number of sales both exceeding the figures for the same period at the start of 2014.
“At Warners we’ve already sold more than 100 properties to the year to date – underlining the impact of greater consumer confidence in the property market.
“We’re seeing more people keen to move and that’s probably as a result of the stability of the UK economy in comparison with many other countries, interest rates remaining low, and a new tranche of Help to Buy funds being released. There is also the fact that the Referendum hangover – which caused people to put buying or selling on hold - has faded.
“There have certainly been more properties which have had competition and closing dates than in previous years.
“I think prices will rise but slowly and steadily over the year. The one question mark which cannot be answered without a magic wand is the General Election.
“Elections always produce a period of uncertainty but let’s remember that is short-term uncertainty which might affect the market a week or two before the election. However, given we have a devolved Parliament in Scotland, there shouldn’t be too many unexpected surprises post the election.”
Scott added that his advice to anyone who is thinking of putting their house on the market, is not to delay any further.
He said: “Firstly, I think prices will rise this year. So if you are looking to sell and buy, waiting until later could mean that prices become unaffordable – and that greater competition from a more active housing market could mean you miss out on your ideal home.
“Secondly, the sooner you own then the sooner you’ll be paying a mortgage off (repaying some of that capital to reduce your loan) as opposed to paying rent to a third party. Part of what you repay is adding to your capital.
“Thirdly, interest rates and, accordingly, mortgage rates remain very low and therefore you can buy now and lock into a great rate for several years (depending on your circumstances). “
Scott also believes that the arrival of LBTT (or new Stamp Duty) from April 1 has not lead to a massive stampede of people looking to buy before tax levels rise.
He said: “With the new starting rate for the LBTT now being £145,000 – it means people buying in Scotland in many cases (up to a sale price of £325,000) will be paying £400 less than in England from 1 April.
“Clearly, therefore, there has been a push for high level purchase transactions to complete before 1 April – but the majority of the market has not been affected.
“For those going on the market now, it is unlikely legal completion will take place before 1 April anyway. It is unlikely, unless someone lives adjacent to the English border, that a buyer would be choosing between potentially buying in Scotland or England. Even then, it would only make a difference of note if buying for more than £333,000.”