It was the coldest May in 25 years, but the Edinburgh and Lothians property market was hot, hot, hot.

Edinburgh property market

It may have been one of the most cold and dreich Springtime months we have seen in 25 years, but it was one of the busiest Springs for property sales and purchases in over a decade in East Central Scotland. Overall, the property market post-spring lockdown in 2020 is certainly the busiest property market period Neilsons have experienced since the firm was founded in 1977.

The figures – 2021 so far

  • The average selling price in Edinburgh and the Lothians has risen by 8.9% year-on-year to £256,790 according to ESPC.
  • Properties are selling within just 21 days on average, though faster selling times are being recorded for in-demand family homes which offer more living space for home working.
  • Properties are selling for 103% above Home Report valuation on average, indicating that it is an incredibly strong seller’s market still.
  • At Neilsons, we have sold nearly 500 properties so far this year, compared to 150 during the same period in 2020 (unsurprising given the lockdown) and 224 during the same period in 2019.

But what does it all mean? Why is it like this, and what does it mean if you are thinking of buying and/or selling?

The market at this moment in time is dysfunctional and overheating – not what you want to hear if you are looking to purchase but it makes this a great time to sell.

Up until around 2018 we could depend on sellers following “textbook” advice to place their property on the market in spring which brought a huge number of properties on the market to soak up the demand from the spring buyers.

From 2018 onwards, there has been unprecedented demand for well-presented and accurately priced properties in East Central Scotland and the pandemic has added fuel to the fire in terms of more buyers than ever before looking for suitable properties due to re-assessed home needs after spending more time in the home environment than ever before.

There has been a particular demand for good sized family homes with ample living, home working and outdoor space, but there has also continued to be demand for well-presented and accurately priced first-time buyer properties due to low interest rates and the continued availability of high loan to value mortgages.

The average selling time is currently around three weeks which is very fast indeed, but many well-presented family homes are securing Offers at competitive closing dates in just one to two weeks at present.

Sellers who are also looking to buy are often delaying their sale until they are successful in the purchase. They will offer subject to sale and so the market is very small – one property in and one out – as sellers only go to market when successful in a purchase.

Some of our sale and purchase clients are taking advantage of the market conditions and selling with a long entry date but are prepared to move into rented or other temporary accommodation if they cannot dovetail the sale with the purchase transaction.

An Offer from a seller who is Under Offer will always be better received than an Offer subject to sale in a photo finish at a closing date. Worth bearing in mind if you are looking for a family home, as these properties are in extremely high demand, and therefore can be most competitive.

Even if you are proposing to offer subject to sale, your Offer will have more credibility at a closing date if we have the property ready to go on the market as soon as the Offer is accepted, so contact us now and we will get the show on the road for you.

The Edinburgh and Lothians market has proved – once again – that it is both dynamic and resilient but there will of course be a virtual reality of the property market for some time to come. Virtual valuations and virtual viewings were created out of lockdown restriction necessity, but they have proven exceptionally popular and are excellent new features of the property market.

What does the rest of the year have in store for the Edinburgh and Lothians property market?

The once-in-a-generation re-assessment of home and living space still has much further to run this year. This is a view that has been shared by the Banks this week.

The easing of lockdowns may create a natural fall in demand as people are able to get out and about more, however despite lockdown restrictions easing in May, activity in Edinburgh remains incredibly buoyant compared to previous years.

We expect new buyer demand to continue as workplaces adopt more flexible, hybrid and remote working practices throughout the year. The increased array of mortgage options also means that first time buyers will remain active in the market.

This is one of the busiest markets ever recalled. To sell and buy successfully you need an experienced team behind you to help you navigate the market and Neilsons are considerably well placed to assist you.

Book a free telephone consultation with Neilsons online here

Scottish Legal Awards 2020 winners