Property Market Data - Key Points:

  • During October-December 2023, the average selling price of homes in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was £272,187, 6.1% down annually. 
  • The average percentage of the Home Report valuation achieved was 102.1%. 
  • The median time for a seller to accept an offer was 22 days, five days slower year-on-year.
  • Sales were 2.5% down year-on-year, while new property listings were up 6.7%.
  • 20.3% of sales went to a closing date. 

What was the average selling price of property in December 2023?

The average selling price of property across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was £272,187 during October-December 2023 – 6.1% down on the same time last year. However, a closer look at ESPC data reveals that this stark decline is more likely due to a shift in buying patterns, with a substantial turn in the market towards lower-priced properties.

If we examine the individual markets across ESPC’s regions, East Lothian recorded the largest drop in property selling prices, with figures down 17.5% year-on-year, meaning the new average selling price in this area was £267,578. Similarly, and aligned with the figures from the previous month, property prices in the Scottish Borders also experienced a decline, this time of 12.4%.

However, looking closely at the markets in these areas, we can clearly see that a boom in the purchase of lower-priced homes has affected the figures, rather than there being a decline in the price of property overall – we’ll dive into this in more detail later in the report.

The housing market was more stable in the City of Edinburgh, with prices declining by 3.7% compared to October-December 2022, meaning the Capital’s new average selling price was £294,085. However, as we’ve seen in recent months, there was a great deal of variation across the city when it came to property prices. In the South West, homes sold for 20.3% more than the same time last year, while in the North West, prices declined by 14.5% on average. Once again, this is linked to individual property sales and a wide variation in property types, as opposed to a city-wide substantial change in pricing.

West Lothian bucked the trend, with average property prices in this region rising 14.8% year-on-year to £243,761. Overall, sales in this region were down, meaning that the most popular properties in this area were larger family homes therefore demanding a higher price point.

In terms of affordability, one-bedroom flats in Gorgie were Edinburgh’s cheapest property, selling for an average of £145,707. However, buyers got much more for their money by moving out of town: two-bedroom flats in Hawick recorded an average selling price of £78,445 while two-bed flats in Galashiels were also affordable at £94,573.

How much of the Home Report valuation did properties sell for in December 2023?

In line with the trends seen throughout the second half of 2023, buyers paid closer to the Home Report valuation in order to secure properties during October-December. The average percentage of Home Report valuation achieved was 102.1%, 3.7 percentage points lower than the same time in 2022.

Properties in East Fife achieved the highest percentage of their Home Report valuation, with buyers in this region paying 103.4% on average.

Meanwhile, homes in the Borders and West Lothian sold closest to their valuation, at 100.6% on average in both of these locations. Properties in popular Dunfermline also sold for close to their valuation, attaining 100.8% on average.

This is great news for buyers, allowing them to make clear pricing decisions with consultation from their solicitor estate agent, and avoiding the need to pay increased upfront costs. A mortgage offer will likely only cover the value stipulated in a property’s Home Report, with buyers required to pay the additional difference directly. Having an offer accepted that’s closer to the Home Report valuation could allow buyers to pay more into their mortgage deposit upfront, potentially giving them the option to secure a better mortgage deal and thus improving affordability.

How long did properties take to go under offer in December 2023?

The median time for a seller to accept an offer on a property in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was 22 days, five days slower year-on-year. This reflects that buyers are now able to take longer to consider their options than in recent years, especially during the post-Covid property boom.

The market across the region remains fast, with many offers accepted in just three weeks.

Properties in East Fife took the longest time to sell, with homes staying on the market for 33 days – although this is one day faster than the same time in 2022.

By contrast, homes in West Fife and Kinross sold the fastest, going under offer in a median time of just 20 days; however this is five days slower than during October-December 2022. Dunfermline was slightly slower, taking 24 days.

Homes across the City of Edinburgh went under offer in alignment with the regional median of 22 days, but homes located in the popular East of the city accepted offers the fastest, in just 18 days.

What were the most popular property types in December 2023?

Throughout October-December 2023, flats (particularly one- and two-bedroom flats) proved incredibly popular with buyers across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders.

One- and two-bedroom flats in ever-popular Leith sold in the highest volumes, up 22.6% and 7.1% respectively year-on-year. One-bedroom flats in Gorgie were also hugely popular, with sales increasing 43.8% annually during October-December 2023. It’s key to note that this property type was also the most affordable in Edinburgh.

Overall, there has been a clear growth in sales of properties priced in the lower LBTT bands, which accounts for the fall in average selling prices. Sales volumes under Band 0 (under £145,000) were up 6.8%, while Band 1 (£145,000-£250,000) sales were up 2.2. Sales for properties falling under Bands 3 and 4 were down 13.7% collectively.

Similarly, ESPC figures show that flats have sold in higher volumes than houses, and alongside this, fewer detached houses were sold during this period, with an increase in the number of traditionally more affordable semi-detached and terraced houses. All the signs point to increasing numbers of buyers in the market with lower budgets, looking to take their initial steps onto the property ladder.

Returning to the areas highlighted at the beginning of the report, flats have been hugely popular purchases in both East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. Two-bed flats in Musselburgh sold in volumes 25% higher annually, while the volume of one-bed flats selling in this area rose by 200%. In the Borders, two-bed flats in Galashiels were up 57.1%, while the same in Hawick sold in volumes 150% higher year-on-year, signalling just how in-demand flats have become across the board.

What were sales and insertions like in December 2023?

During October-December 2023, the volume of properties coming onto the market increased by 6.7%, meaning that buyers across the board have more options available to them – therefore also a contributing factor to longer selling times, with more choices to consider.

Dunfermline, Corstorphine and Leith had the highest volumes of new properties listed for sale, while Musselburgh was also popular with sellers.

81% of sellers opted to market their properties with the ‘offers over’ pricing strategy, and the average Home Report valuation for properties new on the market was £265,008 across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders.

Throughout Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders, property sales were down slightly year-on-year during October-December 2023, dropping by 2.5%.

This could be due to a traditionally quieter time of year, or perhaps a continuation of the themes we have seen throughout 2023, as buyers take longer to choose a home, affecting selling times, and fewer buyers in the market due to the current financial climate.

20.3% of properties for sale went to a closing date, and the properties marketed using the ‘offers over’ pricing strategy achieved an average of 7.2% above their asking price.

What does it mean for the local property market?

Paul Hilton, CEO of ESPC, said: “The final quarter of 2023 showed a marked change in the property market across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders, which indicates that we could be entering a new phase in the market. We’ve seen a real shift towards lower-priced properties, hinting at an influx of buyers coming into the market – which can only be positive news given the months of financial instability we have seen. The figures this month show huge increases in the volumes of one- and two-bedroom flats sold, with reductions in the volumes of larger houses, emphasising that while the headline figure is one of falling property prices, this is more likely due to this increase in more affordable homes being snapped up.

“Post-Covid, we saw a significant increase in buyers searching for long-term family homes, with three- and four-bedroom properties proving incredibly popular; however from these most recent figures, we could be seeing a return to flats being the most popular property types. October 2023 presented us with the biggest spike in sales of flats for the whole of 2023, while our data also shows that during this period, demand for one-bedroom properties soared, while four-bedroom homes experienced a dip in demand. This change in demand has been especially apparent in Edinburgh, East Lothian and the Borders, where we’ve seen some of the biggest price changes. West Fife and Kinross, a region that has been very popular with first-time buyers, also follows this trend. With the recent pauses in interest rates and the subsequent cuts to mortgage rates, perhaps we are beginning to see the return of first-time buyers to the local market in higher numbers.

“If you’re thinking of buying or selling a property in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife or the Borders, contact your local ESPC solicitor estate agent today.”


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Find out average property selling prices for different areas and property types in our house price table.

See data for previous months and years in our historical house price spreadsheet.

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