The average price of a home in Edinburgh has risen annually just £77 according to the Edinburgh Solicitor and Property Centre (ESPC) statistics for the first three months of 2011.
The property organisation painted a picture of a flat market with the average house price in the capital, standing at £207,497, barely changing. It also reported that around 25% more homes were for sale, and that there was a drop in the number of Fixed Price houses selling at the asking price, from 40% in the first three months of 2010 to 33% for the same period this year.
David Marshall, business analyst at the ESPC, said that while there was some variance in the prices of specific property types within Edinburgh, in most cases these offset changes from a year ago.
For example, the average price of a home in the City Centre fell by 11% but this followed a 9.6% rise the previous year.
Similarly, the average price of a four-bedroom property in the city’s suburbs rose by 11.2% having fallen by 11.7% last year meaning that in both cases prices were within 2.5% of 2009 levels.
“Lower sales volumes make averages more volatile meaning you can see variances like this in an individual period. These tend to be one-off anomalies which are offset in subsequent months rather than being reflective of a trend,” said Marshall.
“During the first half of 2010 the average house price in Edinburgh rose, mainly due to an increase in the proportion of larger homes selling. More recently we have seen prices start to ease back and in most cases house values are now at, or slightly below levels seen at the start of last year,” he said.
“Buyers are enjoying a little more success in negotiations than they were a year ago, with only 33% of Fixed Price properties achieving their asking price so far this year compared to 40% during the first quarter of 2010. With the number of homes selling exceeding the number of active buyers we expect prices to inch down a little in coming months before levelling out towards the end of the year, whilst the number of homes sold should be in line with that seen last year.”
The latest Register of Scotland 28-day figures (23 January to 19 February) show the average house price in Edinburgh is £207,493 (which is, coincidentally, £4 less than in the ESPC's quarterly statistics).
RoS's statistics are considered the most reliable picture of property prices in Scotland since, as the official statistics, they record all property transactions, including cash sales.
The agency's most recent quarterly figures (to the end of 2010) showed that Edinburgh no longer has the most expensive homes in Scotland, although the average home price rose over the year by 3.9% to £216,597.
The average house price in East Lothian dropped 9% to £191,539 during the first quarter of 2011.
David Marshall commented that the drop was as a result of a number of larger properties selling in East Lothian that inflated the average figure last year. After an annual rise of 16.7% a year ago, prices were 6% higher than they were in 2009.
“East Lothian has actually outperformed most areas in East Central Scotland since the onset of the credit crunch,” he said.
Elsewhere, prices in Midlothian were almost unchanged with a 0.8% increase taking the average in the region to £162,855. In West Lothian a 6.3% drop brought the average to £153,043, but this followed a 5.1% rise last year meaning prices were in line with 2009 levels.
Fife & Kinross
The average house price in Dunfermline jumped sharply during the first quarter of 2011 with a 17.5% rise taking the average house price in the town to £146,708.
David Marshall explained: “So far this year houses with four or more bedrooms have accounted for almost 25% of sales in Dunfermline compared to less than 20% last year. Although this may seem like a relatively small change, it has significantly inflated the overall average.
When you look at like-for-like sales comparing the prices of properties of similar size you see much more modest growth which is reflective of what is actually happening in the local market. For example, the average price of a one or two-bedroom flat in Dunfermline rose by 3.4% to £71,941. Similarly, the average price of a three-bedroom house rose by 3% from £134,719 last year to £138,773 this year.”