The ESPC, the largest property marketing firm in East Central Scotland have confirmed that the average house price in Edinburgh in the three months to January was £211,956 following an annual fall of 1.1%. This compares with an average price of £214,222 during the same period a year ago.

But according to their records, prices in the City Centre showed a year-on-year increase of 3.4%, with an average house price of £236,315 in that area. But the market for smaller properties continues to experience greater difficulties. The average selling price of a one bedroom flat in Gorgie and Dalry fell by 11.5% annually to £91,536.

Commenting on the latest figures David Marshall, business analyst with ESPC said: “There has been very little change in the factors affecting the market over the last year or so and consequently trends have been fairly consistent. The market for smaller properties continues to face the greatest difficulties as the impact of lending restrictions has a more pronounced effect on buyers here. Conditions are comparatively favourable for sellers of larger, family homes although across the board the number of homes selling is still well below that recorded prior to the credit crunch.

“The likelihood is that 2012 will see a continuation of recent trends. Sellers of smaller properties will still find the market more challenging. The falls we’ve seen in prices since 2007 will offer some first-time buyers who had previously been priced out of the market an affordable way onto the property ladder.

“Most homes are selling for a little below Home Report valuation, so those wishing to secure a quick sale will probably have to show a willingness to accept a slightly lower offer but when they come to buy their next property they should be able to use market conditions to their advantage to secure their next home for less than they may have expected.

David Marshall explained the different price rises and falls in the city:- “Activity from first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors was most significantly impacted by the credit crunch meaning values of smaller, starter homes have generally experienced greater falls in value. This creates obvious difficulties for sellers of smaller homes – particularly if they bought at the peak of the market – but the improvement in affordability will be more welcome news for those looking to buy their first home.

Over the last three months 36% of one-bedroom flats sold in the Capital were secured for under £100,000. That’s up from 26% a year ago and just 20% in 2008, meaning there is a greater number of more affordable homes for those looking to get on the ladder than has been the case for some years.”