Closing dates are returning to the property market in Scotland following a recent resurgence of activity from would-be homebuyers.
Edinburgh’s leading property solicitor Warners has witnessed a steady rise in the number of closing dates being set on properties in recent weeks.
Scott Brown, Estate Agency Partner with Warners, revealed the firm had been forced to set three closing dates within one week at the end of April – with each attracting multiple offers.
He added that the re-emergence of closing dates – which was the mainstay of most house sales up to 18 months ago – indicated the Scottish property market was showing signs of resilience against the ongoing recession.
Scott said: “Nobody is saying that the Scottish market has returned to how it was before the slump. Sales are still down at every property firm and we have seen falling house prices across the board over the past 18 months.
“However, the return of closing dates is a welcome sign that things are taking a turn for the better. There is still a lot of interest from prospective buyers for properties in Edinburgh and we have noticed that, if a home is particularly popular, the sellers are now able to set a date for offers to be received.
“At the end of April, we had closing dates on three properties in Edinburgh – each of which encouraged multiple offers from buyers. If you compare that with the period before Christmas, where you were lucky to get any offers at all a property, it’s a very encouraging sign.”
Scott added that, as the new Home Reports include a survey and valuation, more sellers were choosing to market their home at an ‘offers around’ price, which was helping to attract would-be buyers.
He added: “In the past, properties would have been put up for sale at ‘offers over’ or ‘fixed price’, but we are now seeing a definite shift towards ‘offers around’. It offers more clarity over the value that the seller wants for their property, and we’re finding that buyers prefer this to the previous scenario where they were often paying 25% or more above the ‘offers over’ price.
“The other advantage with ‘offers around’ for the seller is that they don’t set a limit for the amount that their property can potentially be sold for. If you sell at fixed price, you can’t get any more for your home than that value, whereas with ‘offers around’ there is the possibility of getting a higher price if there is competition among buyers.
“It appears that would-be buyers are more interested in offers around than anything else at the moment, and we are finding that it is these properties which are attracting the closing dates for offers.
“It’s still far too early to say whether this is proof that the market is starting to recover, but it is certainly a sign that we are beginning to head in the right direction.”
Warners, which has four property shops in Edinburgh and Lothians, has been the leading property solicitor in terms of property listings, property sales and total sales value in the ESPC for the past ten years.