Quieter period for Fife property market overall but promising signs of continuing growth and average selling price continues to rise

Leading property marketing portal ESPC has released its February House Price Report which gives a detailed insight into the Fife property market over the past three months.

Friday, 4th March 2022, 2:17 pm
ESPC Fife House Price Report - February 2022. Pic: Hamish Campbell.

The report ties into ESPC’s upcoming free Fife Property Market Update webinar, which is being held on Tuesday, March 8 at noon. Anyone interested in buying or selling in Fife can sign up to reserve their free spot and submit questions for the expert panel to answer live on the day. Sign up here.

Paul Hilton, CEO of ESPC, said: “The three months of December-February have seen a lot of activity across Fife, with higher selling prices overall, faster selling times and increases in the levels of closing dates set, indicating a continuing competitive market across the region.

“While there are some clear differences between East and West Fife, overall the picture looks positive for buyers and sellers in both regions. Sellers can take advantage of higher selling prices, a competitive market with low available stock pushing up demand, and quick selling times, enabling them to move onto their next property at pace. We would urge sellers to list their property for sale prior to beginning their searches for a new home, which would lead to more properties and options on the market for buyers across the region.

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"Meanwhile, buyers searching for more affordable property can find modestly priced homes in West Fife and Kinross, with Dunfermline an especially strong option, particularly for first-time buyers or those looking to upsize to a larger home.

“These figures are clear indicators that the Fife property market is returning to the levels of activity we experienced in 2019 and early 2020, pre-Coronavirus, which is positive news. We expect to still see healthy levels of new listings and sales across the region, but with less of a frenzied atmosphere than we’ve seen over the past two years."

Prices rose in East Fife, but a small decline affected prices in West Fife and Kinross

During December 2021-February 2022, the average property selling price in Fife rose 1.4% year-on-year, to £221,124.

If we look at East Fife and West Fife and Kinross separately, we can see a split in the trends for buyers during this time. In East Fife, the average property selling price rose 5.3%, to £278,972, however, in West Fife and Kinross, a 1.7% reduction meant that the average selling price was £190,006, and looking at Dunfermline in particular, prices declined 4.3% year-on-year to £187,147 on average. This suggests that while demand for East Fife’s coastal communities remains strong, it has been a quieter period for West Fife, following the boom in activity the region experienced in 2021.

Sticking with Dunfermline, this is where the most affordable property in Fife could be found; one-bedroom flats here sold for an average of £85,983, providing a strong option for first-time buyers and property investors alike.

Buyers paid more over the Home Report valuation in comparison to 2021

Properties continued to sell for above valuation during December-February, with buyers paying an average of 105.5% of the Home Report value – this is 3.3 percentage points higher than the same time last year.

Again, if we look at East versus West Fife, we can see some differences in the levels paid, but both regions reported an increase on the amount paid in comparison to last year.

On average, East Fife buyers paid 107.7% of the Home Report valuation, 4.6 percentage points higher year-on-year. In West Fife and Kinross, properties attained 104.3% of their valuation, 2.5 percentage points up on 2021.

Homes in St Andrews achieved the highest figure over Home Report valuation overall, with buyers paying an average of 108.4%, up 6.7 percentage points annually. The volume of available property in St Andrews was down 11.1% compared to last year, which may explain the rise in the prices paid – with less available stock on the market, buyers may have been bidding more competitively to secure their chosen homes. In addition to this, 25% of St Andrews properties went to a closing date, which could also have led to more competitive bids being placed.

Selling times decreased as competition remained strong for homes

Despite December-February traditionally being a quieter time for the housing market, Fife properties continued to sell quickly, with the median selling time falling by five days to just 13 days.

Homes sold the fastest in West Fife and Kinross, with a median selling time of 13 days – two days faster than the same time last year. In comparison, East Fife properties went under offer in a median time of 19 days, which is an 11-day reduction on 2021, showing that demand is still very strong for homes in this location.

The fastest-selling property type was three-bedroom houses in Dunfermline, which went under offer in just ten days – two days faster year-on-year.

Dunfermline dominated in terms of sales, with highest volumes across Fife

In line with the market being quieter during this period, sales volumes for Fife properties were down 33.8% year-on-year during December-February – a sign that the property market is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity, as the volumes for this period are just behind those seen in December 2019-February 2020.

Sales volumes in East Fife were down by 32.8% during this time, while in West Fife and Kinross, the figures were 34.4% lower than the same time last year.

Three-bedroom houses in Dunfermline sold in the greatest volumes during this quarter, however, this was also down year-on-year, with a 41.5% reduction in volume. The top five highest-selling property types were all in Dunfermline, showing that demand remains high for property in the area, possibly due to a mix of more affordable properties combined with excellent commuter links into Edinburgh and further afield.

Fewer new properties came to the market, fuelling competition for buyers

As we would expect to see during this period, fewer new properties came onto the market across Fife, with insertions down 9.3% on last year – another sign that the market may be returning to early 2020 levels.

In West Fife, new property listings were down 4.6%, while in East Fife, the levels were down by 21%, which could be the reason for higher levels of closing dates set and the amounts over Home Report valuation paid, as buyers found themselves in tougher competition for fewer homes.

Dunfermline saw the most properties coming onto the market, with insertion volumes up 4.1% year-on-year. This was followed by Rosyth, with 7.7% more properties being listed, and St Andrews, where new listings were down 7.1%.

More sellers set closing dates across Fife

The number of closing dates set across Fife jumped to 27.4% during December-February, up from 19.3% a year ago, which demonstrates how great the demand is from buyers for homes across the region.

In East Fife, almost a quarter (24.4%) of properties had a closing date set; this is up from 19% last year, and just 7% during the same time in 2019/2020, a clear indicator of the desire for property in this area.

In West Fife and Kinross, 29% of listed properties went to closing, up from 19.5% and 13.1% in 2021 and 2020 respectively. Rosyth saw especially strong demand, with 55% of homes in the area going to a closing date.

For more from ESPC, or to view properties currently on the market, visit espc.com.