The property market in Edinburgh and the Lothians is starting to show the first green shoots of recovery, as foreign investors are looking at snapping up homes across the city.
The ELPG group of leading property solicitors has said that, as house prices are close to bottoming out and interest rates are currently at their lowest level in history, foreign buyers are choosing to take advantage of favourable exchange rates to secure bargain properties in Edinburgh.
The group, which is made up of Warners, Neilsons, Drummond Miller, Leslie Deans & Co and the Lints Partnership, says that the strong Euro is encouraging European property investors to consider Scotland as the ideal place to make their next purchase – which could revitalise the country’s property market.
Leslie Deans, senior partner at Leslie Deans & Co, said: “I have already been approached by a couple of foreign investors who are taking a great interest in properties in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.
“Because the pound is performing relatively poorly compared to the Euro, there are a number of cash rich investors who are currently looking to take advantage of the exchange rate and are looking at the UK – and Scotland in particular – as the ideal place to invest their money.
“Edinburgh has always been a popular tourist destination and properties in the city have traditionally been highly sought after. The fact that there is still a high demand for rented accommodation in the Lothians, as many people are choosing to rent in order to save up money for a deposit to buy a flat, means that investors can purchase properties and look to let them out.
“Although we are currently in a recession and house prices have been falling over the past six months or so, there are now indications that we are reaching the end of the downward curve. Recent year-on-year figures from the ESPC show that prices are levelling out and buyers are starting to realise that they need to make their purchase now before the market starts to improve.”
Leslie adds that although many prospective buyers across the Lothians have been delaying purchasing a new home because of the economic downturn, he believes that the conditions have never been better for buying property.
He added: “With foreign investors entering the property market, our advice to anyone who is looking to buy a new home is to get in quick to take advantage of the current climate. Mortgages are available, interest rates are at a record low and there is no Stamp Duty on properties under £175,000 – so if you have a deposit in place and are looking to buy, there is no point in waiting any longer.
“House prices may well be close to bottoming out and we believe that any future cuts in the base interest rate will not be passed on by banks or mortgage lenders, so there is no point in delaying a purchase to see if there is a better deal in the future.
“It will not take much to reinvigorate the property market, as there are many sellers currently out there who are waiting patiently for a buyer to come along and purchase their homes. We’ve always maintained that every first-time or stand-alone buyer who makes a purchase will help to spark a string of transactions further up the property chain – and this in turn will help to bring confidence back to the market.
“By waiting, many potential buyers are running the risk of missing out on the chance to buy their dream property at an affordable price. If you have your deposit in place, you should be looking to buy now before you miss out.”