As we head full speed into 2014, Pagan Osborne’s property experts are offering up their thoughts and considerations on what we can expect across Edinburgh and Fife’s property markets.
Examining activity throughout the regions over the last 12 months, the legal, financial and property experts have described 2013 as ‘a game of two halves’ with a distinct upturn in confidence and sales prices predicted for 2014.
Property Services Director Matthew Gray said:
“Over the last 12 months we’ve seen a measurable improvement in market activity across the Capital. This is a great start to 2014 for both buyers and sellers as we are seeing increased confidence returning to the housing sector.
“While this is a positive step forward it’s important not to assume that we’re now on a clear and easy path. For example, the low interest rates sustaining some mortgage deals are unlikely to continue indefinitely, which will impact on the ability of some to borrow in the future.
“All reputable agents should be approaching 2014 in the same manner as in previous years – by offering clients clear and open guidance on the current market and ensuring that no matter the market conditions they have all possible opportunities to achieve a great sale.”
A look back over the last year, month by month, shows there was relatively slow movement in both seller activity and sale prices from January to July. However, over the last 6 months markets in both regions have witnessed higher numbers of units sold, an improvement in some prices as well as decreased selling times.
How properties were sold also developed with a distinct return to ‘Offers Over’ and ‘Closing Dates’.
First-time buyers in particular had a better year than compared with 2012. Banks became increasingly willing to lend however those who were lucky enough to get the funding still needed to come up with substantial deposits. This left very little money left for renovations or repairs, so the majority of first-time buyers were on the hunt for properties in move-in condition.
2013 also witnessed significant growth in Edinburgh’s buy to let market. Investors were consistently snapping up properties in Marchmont, Bruntsfield and Morningside - typically areas populated by students and allowed investors to capitalise on the buoyant rental market.
Property Advisor for Pagan Osborne in Edinburgh South, Stuart Brown, said:
“We feel there has been a general increase in confidence combined with improved mortgage availability which has led to a 60% increase in sales activity in the last year.
“We also saw a significant number of new sellers deciding to take the plunge as they were keen to capitalise on an improving market but importantly to secure the next property before the market really hots up this year.”
Throughout Fife, the market started quite slowly but then improved as the year went on.
Property Sales Manager & Head of Property Lettings for Pagan Osborne in Fife, Linda Black, said:
“There has been a palpable upturn in confidence to buy and sell in all areas of Fife, especially over the last 6 months. However, our Anstruther branch which serves the East Neuk,Elie and Earlsferry areas, really stands out.
“Sales were up 24% year on year, it took 57% less time to sell a property, (our holiday homes average a selling time of around 6 weeks at present) and the number of viewers it took to produce a sale were down by 25% year on year. This shows great demand and a really buoyant market place.
“51% of properties sold during 2013 at this branch sold at either on or over the asking price. This shows that even with volume sales increasing, prices are holding steady and buyers are maintaining a reasonable level of caution. Many are making respectable offers in order to secure a sale and East Neuk vendors are remaining realistic with their expectations.
“What is noticeable is that vendors who we previously valued for, but at the time weren’t confident enough to proceed to the market, are now returning to us. Our selling clients need safe, innovative, experienced hands and we are delighted to be of service.
“Whilst there has been significant movement in the East Neuk, our other offices in Cupar and St Andrews have also seen good increases in the number of units sold, with prices generally holding firm.
“It’s notable that December 2013 in our St Andrews office experienced the busiest sales month since 2008. This significant boost has resulted in higher levels of activity than reported in any other month of the year which certainly indicates great things for 2014.”