The eagerly anticipated end of year Spotify wrapped playlists are out, the halls are decked, and we are now able to review the East Central Scotland property market 2021 through Neilsons’ lens.
We caught up with our Operations Director, Jenna Spence, to ask a few popular questions.
What’s been happening in the local property market in 2021?
The past few years have been phenomenal for local property sales, with market activity at pre-recession levels; closing dates the norm rather than the exception, and excellent prices being achieved if the property is well presented and professionally marketed with Neilsons.
We are in a situation still where there are not enough properties coming on the market to cope with the incredibly strong buyer demand. Every day we are adding multiple buyers to our local buyers database!
What are Neilsons’ highlights of the year?
There has been a lot and I can’t believe how fast the year has passed!
We have sold and listed over 1,100 properties this year representing a phenomenal sales growth of over 74% on 2020 and 82% on 2019 figures. This is a remarkable achievement, especially when you consider how competitive the property market is. Last time I counted there were around 200 local estate agents.
Our average selling time in 2021 is just over two weeks, which shows you just how hot the sales market is!
We have recorded almost 1m virtual viewings via our popular 360 tours since the pandemic started and have recorded over 1.3million website hits in 2021. On social media, we have generated over 62,400 clicks this year.
We were especially delighted to receive coveted industry recognition this year by winning Residential Property Team of the Year for the second year in a row at the Times’ Scottish Legal Awards and High Street Firm of the Year 2021 at the Law Awards of Scotland. In addition, we once again received various Estate Agency accolades at the UK Negotiator Awards in London.
How has the pandemic impacted the local property market?
The pandemic has increased demand for suitable properties.
Since about 2018, there has not been any seasonality in the local market due to strong buyer demand locally. Edinburgh and the Lothians are great places to live, work and have fun so East Central Scotland appeals to all types of buyers and investors too.
When the property market was permitted to commence again safely but progressively following the first lockdown in spring 2020, demand has increased even further.
This is due to a few factors, most notably re-assessed housing needs and incentives which started with the popular ‘First Home Fund’ which helped to over-stimulate an already dynamic and busy property market.
Buyers have also been saving more than ever before.
In addition, mortgage interest rates remain at a historic low and there are a huge range of 90-95% LTV mortgages for first time buyers – so the property market hasn’t been strangled from the base up (a real problem during the recession years).
Edinburgh property prices are at an all-time high. What do you recommend first time buyers do to get a foot on the ladder in this competitive environment?
That’s right, the average selling price in Edinburgh alone is now £285,327 which is great if you are selling, but not so great if you are looking to secure a property!
Firstly, get a good residential conveyancing Solicitor and make sure your finances stack up, and get a mortgage agreement in principle.
Secondly, we have witnessed buyer dynamics venture into more peripheral areas in the race for space with home and hybrid working here to stay and it’s worth keeping an open mind on areas if you are a First Time Buyer. Remember, this is going to be your first property, not your forever home, so think about what matters to you in the here and now.
A tip for the immediate future is picking a good property with reliable transport links and a great internet connection for keeping up to speed when working from home.
It is also important to act on any proposed property purchase quickly with no delay, our average selling time of 16 days is a testament to how fast the market is moving. Therefore it’s important to have your Solicitor and mortgage agreement in principle in place prior to viewing properties for safe, so you are in a strong position to act quickly. An experienced Solicitor will be able to guide you through what level of Offer to submit and will be able to guide you through those extremely competitive photo-finish closing dates!
What trends have you noticed this year and what trends may be to follow?
Property marketing continues to get even more virtual and digital, to the benefit of sellers and buyers alike.
Virtual viewings are certainly here to stay. They are an excellent feature when marketing your property for sale as it enables people to view your property digitally first and foremost in incredible high definition quality and these help to generate four times the level of interest than properties that don’t have virtual tours on the market! Your home is effectively available for viewing and looking its best 24/7 online.
Other virtual features are really taking off in marketing such as digital staging where photographs are enhanced digitally with furniture items to dress the property. This has been particularly successful for empty properties and is very cost effective, compared to full staging. Of course, it means that viewers don’t get the full effect when visiting in person compared to full staging, but it is great at opening people’s eyes to the potential in empty properties online and has been hugely popular at Neilsons this year, with some even asking if the digital furniture is included in the sale!
There has been a real decline and demand for printed materials such as printed schedules, printed magazines that are often out of date at the time of printing in a fast-moving market and other older hat forms of marketing. From speaking to clients, it is clear there is very little interest in print advertisements at this moment in time given the fast-selling times and changed ways of marketing. I am noticing a much bigger demand for social media marketing, which Neilsons can offer in full with our expertise. The demise of print materials has made most firms and companies greener and more digital, which is great overall and I think is positive.
I expect things to get even more digital and virtual moving forward to the benefit of the seller and buyer experience. Many companies are in real danger of being left behind if they don’t adapt to these emerging trends which have rapidly accelerated in recent years.
What’s the best thing about selling and/or buying with Neilsons?
Whatever property you wish to sell or buy, we can help you and make it happen! We are a top 2 selling ESPC member firm, Neilsons have sold over 1,100 properties this year and completed nearly 2,000 purchases. Needless to say, you will be in very safe hands at Neilsons.
There is very rarely a situation or tricky transaction that we have not come across.
We act for a very wide range of sellers and buyers, from first time buyers looking to move up the ladder, to investors, and downsizers. From starter flats to higher end New Town properties.
We have extremely reliable IT, client communication, telephone and banking systems so no matter what the pandemic throws our way, we are highly adaptable, and you can count on an award winning 5-star service from us. We have not once shut up shop during any lockdown unlike many of our competitors.
What’s to follow for the local property market in 2022?
No one has a crystal ball however it’s important to look forward.
In the days of market seasonality the market would slow down as we approached the festive season and how quickly it picked up was determined by the weather. A prolonged period of snow or other inclement weather meant that viewers did not venture out to view and many clients timed their marketing in accordance with the seasons, waiting for early Spring to launch their property on the market.
The digital facilities that we now provide for our clients mean that weather conditions and seasonality do not come into it when prospective purchasers can view at any time of the day or night from their sofa and smartphone.
Based on everything we have experienced this year, the lack of seasonality once more in winter, we expect things to pick up again very quickly in January based on the intense levels of buyer demand evident in the market.
We have an extensive number of properties due to come on to the market in January, and expect demand for them to be incredibly brisk.
The festive season is often a period of reflection, and it may be the case that even more people decide to make a move in 2022!
Whatever your next move is, Neilsons are here to help.