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The number of homes purchased during the third quarter in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife increased by 43.8 percent compared to last year, reaching its highest in six years, according to an ESPC report released this week.

Activity and interest from prospective buyers has been highest for homes worth up to £750,000 - but there has also been a noticeable rise in interest for properties at the top end of the market.

Family homes in desirable areas like the The New Town and Morningside have attracted lots of attention after appearing on the market. This is thought to be due in part to buyers from London looking for realistic prices and value for money in the Scottish capital.

"The market is showing encouraging signs with the return of first-time buyers and investors, evident in the increase in sales of one and two-bedroom flats in the capital," David Marshall, business analyst with ESPC, told the media this week. "The percentage of sales where the valuation is achieved or exceeded has been steadily rising as market conditions for sellers have improved, however the majority of properties are still selling for less than the Home Report valuation."

The introduction of the Scottish government's Help to Buy scheme this week should have a profound effect on the housing market and the wider housing industry. Over the next three years the Scottish government will allocate £220 million to help consumers buy a home. The government will provide 20 percent of the new home purchase price for first-time buyers.

(image:helena jacoba/FlickrCC)

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