The first three months of 2021 saw the volume of property sales in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders rise by 55.7% compared to the previous year.

In Edinburgh, the sales volume was up by 72.6% compared to the previous year, according to the ESPC.

This reflects how busy the market was in the second half of 2020, it said.

The LBTT holiday coming to an end on March 31 may also have had an impact, as buyers and solicitors looked to complete purchases before that date to take advantage of the saving.

Over the past three months, the number of new homes coming to market is very similar to last year, up by just 0.1%. In Edinburgh, there was a larger increase of 6.4%.

This increase in homes coming to market is concentrated in March – there was a year-on-year decline in February and January. This may be due to increased confidence from sellers as lockdown restrictions are eased in Scotland, encouraging them to put their home on the market, ESPC said.

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Paul Hilton, chief executive of ESPC, said: “The first three months of 2021 has seen a real spike in property sales compared to the previous year. This is to be expected given how busy the market was at the end of 2020, but the LBTT holiday coming to an end in March may also have contributed to increased sales.

“We are starting to see evidence of more homes coming to market, after declines in January and February. This could be due to increasing confidence from sellers as lockdown restrictions ease and pupils return to school. Lower supply of homes has restricted the market in recent months, so an increase in listings may come as good news to buyers. 

“However, with the reopening of the First Home Fund and launch of the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme, it is likely buyer demand will remain very strong in the upcoming months, resulting in the market remaining reasonably competitive.

“As ever, those looking to buy or sell a property in the near future should consult a solicitor estate agent in the first instance, as they can provide advice on the process and also the latest COVID-19 guidance on moving home.”

There were also less homes than usual put on the market towards the end of last March due to lockdown restrictions, which will also be a factor in the increase. However, the total volume of new listings in March 2021 is slightly up compared to March 2019.

From January to March 2021, the average property selling price in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was £259,013, up 7.5% compared to the previous year.

Homes in East Fife saw prices rise by 14.8% compared to the previous year, while properties in the Borders experienced a 13.9% increase in average selling price. Houses and flats in West Fife and Kinross saw prices rise by 7.2% compared the previous year, and the average selling price in Dunfermline was up 12%.

In East Lothian and Midlothian, the average property selling price was up 6.3% and 11% respectively. However, homes in West Lothian experienced an 8.6% decrease in price year-on-year. This is due to a greater proportion of lower value homes coming to market this year.

In Edinburgh, the average property selling price over the past three months was £274,972, up 5.5% compared to the previous year. Edinburgh South experienced the greatest growth in selling price in the city, rising by 11.7% year-on-year. Two bedroom flats in Newington, Grange and Blackford experienced a 17% rise in average selling price compared to last year.

Three bedroom houses in Blackhall, Davidsons Mains and Silverknowes saw the average selling price drop by 13% compared to the previous year. This is due to a greater proportion of lower value homes coming to market this year.

Across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders during the first quarter of 2021, the median time for a property to be placed under offer was 26 days, one day faster than last year. In Edinburgh, the median selling time was 28 days, five days slower than last year.

Properties in West Lothian saw the median selling time drop by 17 days year-on-year, while homes in West Fife and Kinross and the Borders experienced a two week decrease in median selling time compared to last year.

The average percentage of Home Report valuation achieved in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders was 102.1% compared to 102.3% last year. In Edinburgh, it was 102.1% compared to 103.8% last year.

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