ESPC House Price Report - October 2011

  • House prices in the three months to October were in line with, or slightly below, 2010 levels in most areas.
  • In Edinburgh the average house price recorded between August and October was £217,867 - 2.1% lower than during the same period last year.
  • The number of homes available for sale is lower than at this time last year but still above levels that would be expected under normal market conditions.
  • 71% of properties sold at Fixed Price were secured for less than the asking price - up from 61% during the same period last year.
Overview

Latest house price figures released by ESPC, the largest property marketing firm in East Central Scotland, reveal that average house prices in most areas remain at or below 2010 levels. In Edinburgh the average house price between August and October stood at £217,867, down 2.1% compared to the same period a year ago.

A recent slowdown in the number of properties being put on the market means that there are fewer properties available for sale than at this time last year. The total number of properties on the market is still around 40% higher than would typically have been seen at this time of year prior to the 'credit crunch'. With the number of people in a position to buy still relatively low, competition between sellers remains high.

Over the last three months, 71% of properties sold at Fixed Price have been secured for less than the asking price. During the same period last year that figure stood at just 61%.

David Marshall, business analyst with ESPC commented: "There has been very little change in the market over the last few months. The number of homes on the market is higher than you would normally see at this time of year whilst the number of active buyers is still lower meaning that market conditions strongly favour those who are in a position to buy. Buyers are frequently able to negotiate discounts on properties and that has helped to bring house prices in most areas back down from the high levels we saw last year.

"The market is most challenging for sellers of smaller properties with activity from first time buyers and buy-to-let investors both well below pre-credit crunch levels. By comparison, demand for family homes is typically more robust although even here the number of homes selling is still below what would have been seen prior to the economic downturn."

Edinburgh

The average house price in Edinburgh in the three months to October was £217,867. This represented a decline of 2.1% from the level of £222,459 recorded during the same period last year.

In the City Centre the average house price stands at £230,820 following an annual fall of 9.5%, however this decline followed a rise of 10.6% the previous year meaning that the average price in the area was in line with 2009 values.

David Marshall explained: "In general, areas that are seeing sharper falls this year experienced greater rises last year and vice versa meaning that prices are generally back in line with what we were seeing in 2009. Many people, particularly first-time buyers, are still facing difficulties securing mortgages and the concerns many people are facing over job security are also constraining demand.

"Consumer confidence is also low due to economic uncertainty at home and abroad. Recent events in the Eurozone are likely to exacerbate this insecurity. Balanced against this is the fact that low interest rates mean many sellers do not feel under pressure to accept lower offers. We are seeing that buyers who are willing to hunt around are having success in securing significant discounts on properties."

Lothians

In East Lothian the average house price between August and October was almost unchanged compared to a year ago. A rise of just £101 took the average price in the area from £205,353 in 2010 to £205,454 this year. Midlothian saw prices fall slightly with a 3.7% annual decline bringing the average house price in the region to £164,465.

West Lothian saw a sharp rise of 16.5% which took the average price in the area to £174,318 but this increase was attributable to a rise in the proportion of larger properties selling.

David Marshall explained: "The number of homes selling is still relatively low meaning that in some areas a small shift in the mix of properties selling can have a significant impact on the overall average price. In this case we saw a greater number of large family homes selling over the last three months which skewed the latest average figure upwards but we should see this figure come back down again in months ahead."

Dunfermline

The average house price in Dunfermline between August and October was £127,636 following a small annual increase of 1%. This was the first time since April that an annual increase had been recorded in the average house price.

Commenting on these figures David Marshall said: "Overall the average house price in Dunfermline is almost unchanged compared to a year ago but it's worth noting that when you look at some specific property types, in many cases values are lower than they were last year. The average price of a one-bedroom flat for example stands at £67,167 - down 4% annually - whilst the average price of a three-bedroom house is 6% lower than in 2010 at £125,397.

"Competition amongst sellers remains strong and as you'd expect in most cases it is the more keenly priced properties that are attracting greater interest from buyers."

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