Optimism in Scottish property market as sales increase in Edinburgh area

Scotland could lead the property market recovery in UK as the latest figures show sales are rising in a key sector.

Property sales are rising in Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city which has always led the way in terms of property. Figures from the ELPG, a group of five leading solicitor estate agents, show that sales rose from 99 to 142 from mid-September to mid-October. And although the figures are relatively small it does represent an increase of 50% and is therefore giving rise to some optimisim in the market.

Also one member of the group, Warners is currently selling around £2 million of properties per week, twice as much as it sold during the summer.

The ELPG believes that, because of the statistics and the fact that better mortgage deals have become available and conditions are more favourable for first-time buyers, Scotland is in a better position to recover quickly compared to the rest of the UK.

'Things are now considerably better than they were six weeks ago. Liquidity and the flow of fund have improved and it is a lot easier for people to get mortgages, as there are a lot more deals around than there were,' said Leslie Deans, senior partner of ELPG member firm Leslie Deans & Co.

'Although the days of 100% mortgages are gone, more lenders are back to offering 90% mortgages and as the bank base rate has dropped again, it had made buying a house even easier,' she added.

Sellers are also more realistic about asking prices and the eventual sale price. Statistics show that 75% per cent of fixed price properties have been sold for less than the fixed price, making buying a property an increasingly attractive proposition for first-time buyers.

'Forward thinking sellers are prepared to consider lower offers because they know that they are then free to offer reduced prices further up the market in order to compensate for the drop they take on their sale,' said Scott Brown of Warners.