Across the board we have seen a shortage of properties coming to the market and supply is simply not meeting demand. Because we now live in such a digital world, when a property goes live on the market, it is instantly sent to mobiles, tablets or laptops and so viewing requests can come through very quickly and properties can sell within days of going to the market. As a result, hotspots are created in some areas which leads to competitive closing dates and high sale prices being achieved. In particular, there is a demand at present for smaller apartments suited to first time buyers and investors which are selling very well. The average selling time at present is approximately 22 days from coming to market.
The first quarter of 2016 was an extremely busy time in Edinburgh and was, without doubt, fuelled by the introduction of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Additional Dwelling Supplement ("ADS") in April. This affects those who own more than one property where a main residence is not being replaced. In that first quarter there was a huge surge in demand for properties from buyers and investors looking to avoid the additional charge. By way of example, one property which we were selling received 43 offers at a closing date. This was highly unusual and the demand was completely driven by the LBTT changes.
Immediately following the introduction of the ADS, we experienced a slightly quieter period but we have seen the Edinburgh market quickly stabilise, with those eligible for the additional 3% tax seeming to now accept they have to pay a higher rate of LBTT. Buyers recognised that post-April, they weren't having to pay such a large premium to secure a property which they were having to do in the first quarter of the year where competitive closing dates resulted in increased purchase prices and this helped the market remain strong.
Brexit undoubtedly caused some concern for buyers and sellers alike but it has not resulted in significant impact to the Edinburgh property market. Indeed, many of our international and expat clients are identifying opportunities to invest in the Edinburgh property market to take advantage of a weaker Sterling and we are seeing a significant increase in enquiries from such clients. This is a trend we would expect to continue well into 2017. We have also experienced a very busy December with three closing dates on the 21st and over 20 offers being received! We are also having lots of conversations with clients now who are looking to put their properties on the market early in the New Year so 2017 is set to be busy from the outset!
Although we are living in politically unprecedented times, which does create uncertainty, what is still certain is that people do still need to move house. Demand is still high in Edinburgh so I expect the Edinburgh market to remain strong and for prices to increase as we go into the New Year.