We’re not even two months into the new year but there’s already been plenty of goings on in the local property market. We’ve had late revisions to Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), a controversial decision to delay a key vote on the latest stage of the council’s Local Development Plan and, at MOV8, we opened the doors to our newest branch in Newington. And all this at a time when activity in the market has been on the rise!
Here’s our monthly round-up of all things property in and around Edinburgh.
A record start to the year
Throughout 2014 we saw activity among buyers and sellers in Edinburgh and the Lothians rising and this has continued into 2015. At MOV8 we enjoyed our busiest ever January for sales, while new listings (properties signing-up to come to the market) were also at their highest level since we opened our doors in 2007.
Selling times have quickened substantially in the last year and the majority of homes coming onto the market in Edinburgh are now under offer in six weeks or less. Sellers are enjoying more success when it comes to negotiating on price, with the majority of properties achieving a selling price that’s equal to or in excess of their Home Report valuation.
With the introduction of LBTT due on 1 April 2015, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the sharpest increase in activity was in the market for larger family homes. ESPC reported that the number of homes coming onto the market with an asking price of over £300,000 was twice as high in January 2015 as in January 2014. When LBTT is introduced, people buying more expensive properties will face a higher tax bill meaning buyers and sellers at this end of the market are keen to complete their move before the new tax is in place.
To date, while the number of homes changing hands has risen sharply, house price growth in the local market has been relatively modest. The rise in sales has been matched to some extent by an increase in the number of homes coming onto the market and this has helped to keep house price inflation at a reasonable level. In the three months to January the average house price in Edinburgh rose by 3.5%, annually, to £217,355.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted in February to keep the Bank Rate at 0.5% where it’s been since 2009. With the possibility that inflation may turn negative in the not too distant future, most economists are now predicting that the Bank Rate won’t rise until 2016.
That should mean mortgage rates remain low over the course of the year which will help keep buyer demand high in the months ahead.
Development vote pushed back
Edinburgh Council has decided to push back a vote due to take place later in February on its second Local Development Plan until May 2015 at the earliest. The Plan included proposals for a number of new-build developments across the city including one in Cammo and Newmills but it had been met with opposition from local residents.
Someone far more cynical than me might suppose that the vote had been pushed-back to avoid making what might prove to be an unpopular decision until after the General Election this year…but I would never suggest such a thing! Unfortunately delaying the vote simply creates uncertainty for both residents and developers and we’d hope to see the situation resolved sooner rather than later.
Overall it’s been a really positive start to the year for homemovers in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Conditions for sellers are more favourable than they have been for at least seven years with selling times shortening and more homes achieving a selling price that’s at least equal to their Home Report valuation.
As ever, if you’re thinking of selling a property, please get in touch with us on 0345 646 0208 or at [email protected]. One of our team of experts will be happy to arrange a FREE valuation and pre-sale appraisal visit, or just to have a chat with you on the phone, to give you all the advice that you need to help you to get the best possible value for your property.