Homeowners in Edinburgh have benefited from record house price rises in the first quarter of this year, according to Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC).
Findings show the highest quarterly rise in over a decade, with the average house price standing at £107,442 ‘ an increase of 17.4% on the same time last year.
Although Edinburgh’s hous-ing market seems buoyant, ESPC’s chairman, Robin Stimpson, said similar increases were unlikely to continue.
‘If recent economic history has taught us anything, it is that this kind of price hike cannot be sustainable over the long term. The gap between house prices and earned incomes cannot widen indefinitely,’ he said.
Some areas of the city experienced even greater price rises. Two-bedroom flats in Stockbridge and Comely Bank fetched 32% more than they did during the first quarter of 2001. Properties in the city centre, including areas such as New Town, Old Town, West End, Tollcross and Fountainbridge, have an average price of £142,933, showing 24% growth on last year.
Price rises were also recorded further afield. House prices in Midlothian achieved an average of £114,351 ‘ 35% up on last year. ESPC put the steep increase down to strong demand, with fierce competition from potential buyers.
Martin Ellis, group economist at HBOS, said the price hike in Edinburgh may cause affordability problems for some buyers.
‘The rapid rise in prices in Edinburgh in the last few years is causing problems for potential buyers in the capital and is pricing many first-time buyers out of the market, forcing them to look further afield and increase commuting distances,’ he said.
Although Edinburgh prices may be pushing some people out of the property market, house prices in the rest of Scotland remain affordable. Figures from Bank of Scotland’s Scottish Price Index showed an increase in house prices for the whole of Scotland of 3.6% during the same first quarter period.