Home sales still sluggish in Scotland

Although supply has eased recently, the number of homes for sale still exceeds the number of people looking to buy meaning market conditions continue to favour buyers.

Three-quarters of homes sold over the last three months at Fixed Price went for less than the asking price – down from 63% a year ago.

East Lothian saw a sharp annual fall in the average price of 20.9%. This fall was fuelled by an increase in the proportion of smaller properties selling. Comparison of like-for-like sales shows home values in the area down by around 5% annually.

The average house price in Dunfermline rose by 6.4% annually and now stands at £135,890. The likelihood remains that in most areas the average house price will ease back in coming months before levelling off during the second half of 2011.

David Marshall, business analyst with ESPC said: "Although the average house price in Edinburgh remains higher than it was a year ago, over the last few months we have seen the figure ease back from the high levels we saw last summer."

The average house price in East Lothian saw a sharp annual fall of 21% however this stemmed from an increase in the proportion of smaller properties selling. One-bedroom properties accounted for almost 13% of sales in the area compared to just 8% a year ago. Conversely properties with four or more-bedrooms made up less than 25% of sales over the last three months, down from over 32% a year ago.

Marshall said: "The number of homes selling is still relatively low meaning it‟s not unusual to see some volatility in regional house price figures due to a change in the types of properties selling. In this case we saw a higher than usual number of one-bedroom properties selling in East Lothian which brought the average down. When you look selling prices of properties of similar size though, they are broadly in line with values we saw 12 months ago.

"Recently we have started to see some signs of an upturn in demand with the number of people searching for property online higher than a year ago and agents reporting an upturn in buyer activity over the last two weeks. Overall though we expect market conditions to continue to favour the buyer meaning prices are likely to ease back by around 3-5% in the first half of 2011 before levelling off later in the year."

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