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Property sales in Edinburgh and the Lothians have shown the first signs of recovery by soaring by almost 50% in the past month.

According to the ELPG group of leading property solicitors, the increase in sales signals a return of faith in bricks and mortar investment at a time when the financial markets are in turmoil.

Figures from the ESPC show an increase in weekly sales from 99 sales to 142 from mid-September to mid-October.

One ELPG member firm reported selling 12 properties last week, compared to four the previous week.

The ELPG, made up of five of the leading solicitors-estate agents in Edinburgh and the Lothians; Drummond Miller, Leslie Deans & Co, The Lints Partnership, Neilsons and Warners, accounts for around 25% of all properties sold in Edinburgh.

Steve Spence, Senior Partner at ELPG member firm Neilsons, said: “The increase in property sales is a welcome return to the faith people have in bricks and mortar.

“We are not going to be so bold as to claim that we have turned a corner, but this should be viewed as positive sign that confidence is returning to the property market.

“The fact that this upturn has come at the time the global financial markets have gone into meltdown cannot be coincidental.

“People often want an investment that is tangible and relatively safe – property in Edinburgh offers that.

“The financial markets have witnessed massive falls in the past few weeks, with plummets of up to 9% in a day and 20% in a week. It has taken a year for the Edinburgh property market to drop by 7% and the Edinburgh market had not seen a fall of any description for 37 years before that.

“I had a client last week who had sold her business and was nervous about having a large sum of money in the bank. She is now looking to buy a property to rent out as she regards this as a safer haven for her money.”

The ESPC recorded the following number of weekly properties sales in the past four weeks, against a backdrop of the worst period of financial crisis in other markets in living memory:

• Week ending September 19 – 99 properties
• Week ending September 26 – 129 properties
• Week ending October 3 – 124 properties
• Week ending October 10 – 142 properties

Steve added: “The upwards trend in sales is a very promising sign that the property market is beginning to recover and that confidence is returning ..

“The Scottish market in general and the Edinburgh and Lothians market in particular has always operated in a unique way compared to the rest of the UK, and once confidence returns fully to the market then it will pick up very quickly.

“ELPG members, along with the ESPC as a whole, are witnessing the first signs of that positive upturn.”

Jason Scott, Partner at fellow ELPG member Warners, said: “People are beginning to see that there are real bargains available and are showing cautious interest in the property market again.

“However once people do decide to enter the market they are likely to do so at the same time and there will be a noticeable upturn. It is probably too early to be totally certain that is what we are seeing, but there are positive indicators.

“With the banks being obliged to increase mortgage lending and the prospect of lower interest rates, I think that going forward the property market will again be seen as an increasingly attractive proposition for people.

“Now, more than ever therefore, represents a good opportunity to buy at a good price before the prices generally start moving back up.”

ENDS

Issued on behalf of ELPG by Holyrood Partnership. Contact Suzanne Mackie on (0131) 561 2244 or [email protected].

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