Property sales in the Lothians are showing signs of recovering from their annual Easter slump, according to the region’s leading solicitor estate agents.
The ELPG group has highlighted that sales figures are taking a turn for the better following the traditionally lean Easter period, with some member firms reporting bumper sales in recent weeks.
During the last week in April, the five ELPG member firms – Warners, Neilsons, Leslie Deans & Co, the Lints Partnership and Drummond Miller – sold a total of 53 properties between them. The total included exceptional individual figures at three of the firms, who recorded 13 property sales each.
Scott Brown, estate agency partner at Warners, said that this increase in sales showed that the property market in Edinburgh and the Lothians was showing encouraging signs of resilience, despite the ongoing recession.
He said: “Some newspaper reports in recent weeks have suggested that the property market has once again ground to a halt. They have said that the positive signs we saw a month or so ago were a false dawn and that the market has returned to ill health over the Easter holiday.
“However, they fail to acknowledge that the housing market always experiences a lull over Easter. Many people have other commitments such as holidays during this period, so they tend to put off purchasing a property until they return from their travels – and property sales tend to fall during this period.
“In recent weeks we have started to see the number of sales rise again, which is a very encouraging sign. Some individual firms in the ELPG have carried out 13 property sales each in just one week – the best figure so far this year and a clear sign that the traditional Easter slump is over.”
The figures are yet another promising sign for the Lothians property market, following the revelation in recent weeks that closing dates are starting to be put on some properties being sold in the region – indicating that demand is high among buyers for new homes.
Angus Macpherson, partner at ELPG member firm Drummond Miller, adds that although the Lothians’ housing market is still being affected by the ongoing recession, it remains a good time for house hunters to search for a bargain.
He added: “No-one is saying that everything is rosy in the property market. After all, sales are still significantly down from their levels in 2007 and house prices have fallen over the last year or so, so there is still a long way to go before we see a full recovery.
Good news for buyers
“However, there is still a lot of good news out there for buyers and sellers. A recent report by the Bank of Scotland has suggested that property is now more affordable for first-time buyers and, as the Chancellor has extended the Stamp Duty freeze on properties worth below £175,000, the conditions are now perfect for buying a new home for a bargain price.
“Sellers are also finding that, as long as they are realistic about the price they want for their homes, they are able to sell up and make their next move along the property ladder. The fact that we are seeing weekly sales in double figures at some ELPG firms is a clear sign that there is still high demand for property in Edinburgh and the Lothians, and that the market has not ground to a halt.
“House prices are already levelling out and investors are entering the market, so it will only be a matter of time before we see the first signs of a recovery.”
The ELPG – which is made up of Warners, Neilsons, Drummond Miller, Leslie Deans & Co and the Lints Partnership – was set up in 2002 with the aim of strengthening the members’ position as the main players in the Edinburgh and Lothians property scene. The firms currently account for more than a quarter of all sales in the ESPC.