Property Market Highlights
- Mortgage rates begin to fall
- Scottish house prices continue to cool as market records a 0.9% drop, month on month
- Supply and demand becoming more balanced than in the previous couple of years
- Buyers continue to pay Home Report valuation or above at sale across all areas
Mortgage Rates Fall & Mortgage Availability improving
This March saw a welcome fall in mortgage rates, with some offering 4% on lower loan-to-value products. Moreover, typical costs for two- and five-year deal mortgages decreased, falling back to match the rates shown in October 2022 despite The Bank of England raising the Bank Rate by 1.75% during this period.
Along with falling rates, the availability of mortgage products on the market has risen significantly, with an average of 28 days compared to 15 days in January this year – the highest it’s been since March 2022, according to Zoopla.
Scottish House Prices Decrease Month on Month
House prices in Scotland recorded a drop this January, according to the latest data in the Walker Fraser Steele Acadata house price index. As reported in the Mortgage Strategy last month, the 2023 index revealed Scotland’s average house price sat at £222,668 – a 0.9% decrease on December 2022.
Regional development director at Walker Fraser Steele, Scott Jack, commented: “A fall in the average house price was perhaps inevitable given the sudden rise in the cost of mortgage finance and the economic turmoil brought about by the Truss-Kwarteng mini-budget.”
Supply & Demand Issues Show Signs of Reversal to the Benefit of Buyers
Throughout 2022 we saw supply and demand issues persist, with buyers scrambling to snatch up the dwindling amounts of stock on the market – and paying more than Home Report valuations at sale.
The first quarter of 2023 suggests that supply and demand has become more balanced, despite the number of properties available continuing to be lower than pre-pandemic levels, buyers are enjoying higher supplies of new stock coming to market than this time last year – giving buyers more choice when it comes to finding their next dream home.
With dipping house prices, the time homes are spending on the market has increased (28 days according to the latest data from ESPC) and stock up 60% compared to last year, prospective buyers have more options than ever, suggesting sellers may need to consider market conditions when pricing their properties if they want to pique buyer interest. With a less buoyant market it becomes increasingly important to make sure you select an experienced property sales team to make sure the selling value is maximised.
76.9% of Properties Sold for Home Report Valuation or Higher at Sale
Despite the continued rebalancing of supply, buyers continue to pay the full Home Report valuation or over at sale to secure their new properties, continuing trends we’ve seen throughout 2022 and so far in 2023.
According to ESPC, from Jan-Mar 2023, 76.9% of properties in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders sold for their Home Report valuations or higher, with the average property enjoying 102% at sale – suggesting the property market continues to be competitive across Scotland’s most popular areas.
East Lothian properties enjoyed the most over their Home Report valuations at sale, hitting 104.3% (a 3.5% dip compared to last year). Next up, we have East Fife, where homes attained 103% of their Home Report valuations at sale (a 4.9% decrease), while properties in the City of Edinburgh came last, selling for 102.9% of their Home Report valuations (a decline of 2.2% annually).
What Does it All Mean?
This month’s figures suggest the post-pandemic property run may be cooling, evidenced by the recent average house prices data , increased time properties are spending on the market and fewer homes selling for above their Home Report valuations at sale. Despite this, the market across all Scottish areas continues to be competitive. Paul Hilton, ESPC’s CEO, had this to say:
“The post-pandemic era has seen an incredibly buoyant property market with a distinct lack of housing stock, coupled with high selling prices and quick selling times. However, in the first quarter of 2023, we are seeing clear signs that the market is cooling and returning to more normal levels last seen in 2019… If you are thinking of buying or selling in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife or the Borders, it is crucial to seek expert advice from a solicitor estate agent.”
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