A new wave of realism among house sellers in Scotland is helping to change the face of the country’s property market, according a leading property solicitor.
Warners solicitors and estate agents has highlighted that, in recent months, sellers in Edinburgh have started to become more realistic about the amount they expect to receive for their homes – with many now willing to accept a lower price in order to secure a sale.
Warners, which is Edinburgh’s number one solicitor estate agent, believes that the change has helped to stimulate activity in the Scottish property market and has led to an increase in the number of property sales being finalised every week.
And the firm has said that the trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, as factors such as the ongoing economic downturn and the new Home Reports are creating a more realistic environment for buyers and sellers in Scotland.
Scott Brown, estate agency partner with Warners, said: “There has definitely been a change within the past few months where sellers have become a lot more realistic about the value of their properties and how much they expect to achieve for them.
“Some of this can be attributed to the introduction of Home Reports, which include a property valuation that buyers can view before making an offer, and we have seen many more people choose to market their property at an ‘offers around’ price as a result of this. After all, if you’re valuation says that your home is worth £400,000, there is no point putting it up for sale at offers over £400,000 – as it’s unlikely that a buyer will be willing to pay up to 25% more to purchase it.
“But it appears that there has also finally been a realisation by sellers that the property market is not performing as well as it was two years ago. Despite the fact that house prices have been falling over the past year, until recently there were many sellers still expecting to sell their homes for higher prices than they were likely to achieve.
“I think now that many of these sellers – some of whom would have had their properties up for sale for almost a year – have reached the point where they have realised they won’t get the price they want for their home. They are now more receptive to the idea of accepting a slightly lower offer, or reducing their asking price, in order to sell up and move on to their next home.”
In recent weeks, Warners has seen its sales figures remain steady at around 13-14 per week and Scott believes this is because of a marked shift in sellers’ expectations.
He added: “Now that sellers are being more realistic about prices, we have actually started to see the number of weekly property sales increasing. A few months ago, we were only selling around 6 properties per week, but that figure is now up to 13 or 14, so it is a big change.
“Although it’s important to note that house prices are still down on last year’s figures, the rise in the number of weekly sales is an encouraging sign. It shows there is still a high demand for property and that many people are still looking to buy and sell homes in Edinburgh and across the rest of Scotland.
“Over the past month we’ve seen the reappearance of closing dates on some properties, while other homes have attracted multiple bids from interested buyers. More sellers are choosing ‘offers around’ prices – rather than ‘offers over’ or ‘fixed price’ – and this is also helping to re-shape the Scottish property market.
“While it’s too early to say whether prices will start to rise back to their previous highs, there is a lot to be cautiously optimistic about. Research by some of the major banks and mortgage providers has shown property is becoming a more affordable option for people in Scotland – and the fact that sales are rising is a very encouraging sign for the property market.
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.