The property market in the Lothians is outperforming the national average, according to property consultancy Galbraith.
This strong growth in house prices is being driven by strong demand from families moving out of central Edinburgh to more affordable parts of Scotland within commuting distance of the capital.
Despite ongoing political and economic uncertainty, Galbraith believes that buyer confidence in Scotland remains high.
“We have seen strong demand in most parts of the region throughout 2018, with sales closing relatively quickly in many cases, as long as properties are accurately priced,” Rebecca March, head of residential sales for Galbraith in the Lothians and central Scotland, said.
March said that some postcodes have seen significant house price growth in recent years, which continued or accelerated in 2018. West Lothian was a particularly strong performer, with growth of 12.2%. Its near neighbour East Lothian was close behind, with a rise of 11.7% compared with 2017.
The ripple effect – caused by very strong demand for property in Edinburgh seeping outwards – has helped to push prices up in surrounding areas. According to March, families are relocating from the centre of town to the more affordable areas of East and West Lothian - home to good transport links to the city centre and Edinburgh Airport.
Compared with central Edinburgh, properties in West Lothian remain very affordable.
“The Lothians overall have many well-regarded schools, areas of beautiful countryside, varied leisure pursuits and offer an appealing rural lifestyle,” March said.
Galbraith also noticed an increase in demand from Scots returning home after working in England or further afield for a period. This trend has been evident for a few years and continued in 2018.
The lower house prices on offer in Scotland compared to many parts of England is often a driver for many Scots to return home to buy ‘a much more spacious property, with the added benefit of a more relaxed lifestyle’.
The firm expects these trends to continue in 2019, in spite of the continued uncertainty over Brexit.
“The further increase in the sales tax imposed on second homes by the Scottish government, which comes into effect from the end of January, may have a slight dampening effect on the market, although second home owners do not make up the majority of buyers,” March continued. “Scots have been subjected to two referendums and a general election in the past four years, so perhaps uncertainty is the new normal!”
Figures from the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre revealed an average house price rise of 12.2% in West Lothian, 11.7% in East Lothian and 5% in Midlothian for the year ending November 2018. Average house prices grew to £183,358 in West Lothian, £242,689 in East Lothian and £202,689 in Midlothian.