ESPC disputes RICS report on property market
Agents report a busy market (pic: Terry Murden)
Housing agents in Scotland have disputed claims that interest from property buyers has fallen.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) earlier this week reported a slump in the market north of the border during February.
It claimed the number of properties on sale was down for the fourth consecutive month. It added that Scotland had the weakest figures for new buyer inquiries of any nation or region in the UK.
However, ESPC agents across the southern half of Scotland are reporting the opposite, with significant buyer demand and enquiries for homes.
They say this is resulting in a competitive market, with rising selling prices, faster selling times and higher percentages of Home Report valuation achieved.
In its February House Price Report last week, which covers the period from December 2020 to February 2021, ESPC reported that the average selling price in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was up by 6.2% compared to the previous year, while the median property selling time was just 20 days, six days faster than last year.
It also revealed that the volume of property sales rose 42.2% year-on-year, reflecting how busy the market has been in recent months.
During February, the number of viewing requests on espc.com was up 88.3% year-on-year.
It believes the launch of the new mortgage guarantee scheme and reopening of the First Home Fund in April means buyer demand may ramp up even more at that stage.
Jenna Spence, operations director at Neilsons Solicitors & Estate Agents, said: “The local market is experiencing exceptionally high levels of buyer demand.
“At Neilsons, over the past three months, we have recorded a 163% increase in viewing requests, a 98% increase in online searches for our properties and a 52% increase in Home Report downloads year-on-year.
“Our sales are up by over 92% due to such strong levels of buyer demand. We have received over 470 offers so far in 2021 and have set over 100 closing dates. The market is truly showing incredible levels of buyer activity and demand.”
Paul Hilton, CEO of ESPC, said: “ESPC represents over 160 solicitor estate agents across the southern half of Scotland who deal with property sales and enquiries every day, giving us a good view of what’s happening in the market.
“Our agents and data tell us that buyer demand remains strong across ESPC areas despite the second lockdown. Selling prices are up while selling times are down, and homes continue to frequently exceed Home Report valuation.
“We have seen a dip in homes coming to market year-on-year recently and this has likely resulted in increased competition for property. However, we expect to see more houses and flats coming to market in the next couple of months as lockdown restrictions ease – we have already seen a significant increase in the number of homes coming to market in March, as more pupils return to school.
“The return of the First Home Fund and launch of the new 95% mortgage guarantee scheme next month will likely see buyer demand ramp up even more, meaning the market will remain busy and competitive.
“Those interested in buying or selling a property in Scotland in the near future should speak to a solicitor estate agent for expert advice on the local market conditions.”