Welcome to 2023! After several years of rapid changes in an ever-evolving Edinburgh and Lothians property market and unprecedented levels of demand, the market has been reported by some to be settling down to a calmer pace and providing more opportunities for buyers. However, this festive season, seller and buyer enquiries have been at an all-time high compared to previous years. What does this mean for local sellers and buyers?
The economic outlook
It’s a well-known fact that the economy has been topsy-turvy since *that* mini budget back in early September, following a difficult year of higher inflation rates and an ever-increasing cost of living. However, there are green shoots appearing with regards to economic outlook despite the sensationalism in the local press. The economy is stabilising, with better mortgage rates and a stronger pound against the dollar. Prices at the petrol pump are also lower. There are reports by some economists that inflation may have already peaked, which could help keep the cost of borrowing from rising even further.
As for the local economic outlook, a new study from Irwin Mitchell’s latest City Tracker produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has confirmed that Edinburgh is one of the fastest growing economies in the UK. The report expects economic growth in the UK to resume in the latter six months of this year, with Edinburgh’s economy to be 1.1% larger than the same period 12 months previously. There will always be a resilient property market in Edinburgh and the Lothians, as it is a very desirable place to live and the economic outlook is positive in the city despite the economic pressures presented towards the second half of 2022.
Recent seller and buyer activity at Neilsons and on the portals
At Neilsons, buyer activity on our website during the festive season (between 23rd December 2022 and 4th January 2023) was up 35% compared to the same period last year. During this time, we received 400 viewing requests and buyer enquiries. Buyers also downloaded our sellers’ Home Reports 350 times via ESPC.COM alone. It is not just the buyers that are motivated, but sellers are clearly motivated too. We also had 30 pre-sale appraisal requests during Christmas and New Year and we currently have over 40 clients looking to go on the market in January as of 5th January at what is traditionally and seasonally a quieter month of property market activity according to the textbooks.
Encouraging seller and buyer sentiment is not just exclusive to Neilsons either, looking at property portal activity during the same period.
Rightmove have just confirmed that their views increased by 20% during Christmas and New Year and the number of people contacting estate agents for a valuation during the festive season was 29% higher than the same period in 2021. Rightmove have confirmed that the number of people contacting estate agents for a valuation is at the highest level it has been since early September, pre-the mini budget.
ESPC have reported a 22% increase in website sessions over the last seven days (29/12/22 – 04/01/23) with a 30% increase in viewing requests. In comparison to pre-pandemic levels, ESPC have confirmed that their sessions are up 17% with viewing requests up 24% and valuation leads are up 77%. It is important to remember that 2019 was considered the best year in the local market post-2008 recession and pre-pandemic with current levels of activity in the market far exceeding the 2019 levels.
Strong seller and buyer appetite heading into 2023
It is accurate to conclude that seller and buyer appetite is still strong with these figures in mind despite the economic rollercoaster and despite the sensationalist press headlines where clickbait headlines are king.
Whilst most expect a ‘calmer’ market in 2023 compared to the frenetic, unhealthy market conditions over the last few years, it really has been a very strong festive season of buyer and seller demand heading into January which is excellent news for the Edinburgh and Lothians market. There are a group of confident, motivated sellers and buyers out there now and we hope that 2023 heralds a healthier property market where demand and supply are more evenly matched.