ASSOCIATION OF SCOTTISH BUSINESS WOMEN – AWARDS DINNER 2014

October 7, 2014

I had a very enjoyable evening at the ASB National Business Awards Dinner 2014 last Friday.  The Awards Dinner was very enjoyable and afterwards I had the privilege of presenting the ASB Employee of the Year Award to Samantha Stewart of Clean Bee.  It was great to see so many individuals and businesses recognised for their contribution and a big congratulations to all those who took part. 

I would also like to congratulate the organising committee for a very enjoyable dinner and a special well done to Lynne Duffus who ensured that the evening crackled along with fun and good spirits.

The above photo shows all of the Judges that were presenting an Award in the evening.

Lindsay Darroch 
Partner – Head of Property 

Blackadders expands the brand further with acquisitions in Edinburgh and Perth

September 9, 2014

Leading Scottish Law Firm Blackadders,  has agreed merger terms with companies in Edinburgh and Perth, bringing the number of offices  operated to six and further strengthen its position as one of the fastest-expanding law firms in Scotland.

Perth4

Pictured from left to right are: James Morris, Johnston Clark, David Reid, Alastair Duncan, Lindsay Darroch and Campbell Clark.

The larger of the two takeovers involves Condies, which is based in Tay Street in Perth city centre. Under the agreement, David Reid and James Morris of Condies become partners at Blackadders and Alastair Duncan a consultant. There will be no job losses as a result of the merger.

Condies is one of the oldest law firms in Scotland. Boasting a wide-ranging client base, it is widely recognised for expertise in trusts, the agricultural sector and wealth management.

Under the second deal, Edinburgh-based solicitor Colin Blaikie, currently operating from Broughton Street, will become a partner in Blackadders and move to the company’s base in the capital at 5 Rutland Square, along with all members of staff.

The changes will take effect from 1 October.

Johnston Clark, managing partner, Blackadders, commented: “We are delighted to have established a base in Perth, which is arguably the most important urban centre in the East of Scotland after Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh, where we already have a presence.The merger will further strengthen our position in the market and will have a positive impact on our clients.The move will enhance our presence and allow us an opportunity to further develop in Perth and Perhshire.” In Edinburgh, the addition of Colin Blaikie to our senior team will further strengthen the client services we already offer in the capital enhancing our team and adding to the development of this office since our merger with McKay Norwell in 2012”

These latest deals bring the number of acquisitions made this year by Blackadders to three, having taken over the long-established Aberdeen firm of Adam Cochran in January.

Mr Clark added: “The market for legal services in all our practice groups is changing and the partners believe that our growth into a national firm offers increased brand recognition and the resources required to take advantage of the opportunities this will create.”

Further information, contacts, etc.
Lindsay Darroch -01382 342262 or 07525101949

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

STAGNANT PROPERTY MARKET – HOME TRACK

September 5, 2014

As part of the myriad of conflicting reports that are coming out about the property market, I was interested to read a report from the Home Track Consultancy which is focussed in on England and Wales.  They have advised that key indicators are showing a stagnating market  with less properties coming on to the market and also a much quieter summer.  I was also interested to read a recent report from the Nationwide which advised the house price growth edged up in August, UK prices being up by 0.8% but the number of mortgage approvals falling by almost 12% between January and May with a modest rebound in June.

I am still of the view that Autumn will see a gradually improving house market, with an increase in the number of properties coming on to the market.  I will keep you advised of trends.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property   

PROPERTY MARKET – SUMMER UPDATE: A PLETHORA OF OPPOSING FIGURES

September 3, 2014

So what happened to the Scottish property market in the summer?

As readers of previous blogs know, I caveat all my blogs, especially updating on trends by saying these words are my own personal view.  I think that here at Blackadders where we have a substantial presence in Dundee, Arbroath, Forfar, Edinburgh and Aberdeen dealing with property transactions throughout the whole of Scotland, makes us uniquely placed to comment on the Scottish property market.  I have been astounded this year by the number of opposing surveys and trends and as it’s often said, you can make statistics say anything that you would like them to say.  I have read reports showing the number of first time buyers have increased, the number of first time buyers have decreased, the amount of mortgages coming on to the market increasing, the amount of mortgages coming on to the market decreasing, so what is now my  overall feeling?

There is no doubt  that the number of properties coming on to the Scottish property market has not increased as rapidly as we would have liked and I refer you back to a previous blog regarding stagnation – 4 November 2013.  As mentioned, the shortage of properties coming on to the market has led to increased price volatility with a huge increase in the number of closing dates and significant price increases for properties that have been correctly marketed and that are in the right area.  This has led a number of developers also selling out all their stock for 2014 and, in my opinion, the new properties coming on the market are the key to getting the housing market moving.

In relation to first time buyers, like the many surveys, I have a mixed message here.  I think the number of first time buyers has probably increased due to targeted assistance from the Government.  The Help to Buy scheme, however, has now been withdrawn and the Help to Buy scheme that was targeted at newbuild properties was wrongly set up, allowing first time buyers to miss out the traditional first time first step property, causing part of the housing market to actually stagnate.  I also think that the Referendum in September is also now having a brake effect on the market, both curtailing property investment in Scotland and also putting some people off putting their property on the market, thus accentuating the shortage.

I also have a slight suspicion that the increasing economic confidence and job security that has happened to many people has actually caused a lot more people to think this year about summer holidays, postponing their property move until the following year.

So what about Autumn?  I anticipate it starting probably late September when there will be a steady increase in the number of second-hand properties coming on to the market.  I also think that the developers will be in a better position to start fulfilling demand for 2015.  This will cause second-hand stocks to increase and create a pool of expectant buyers, meaning that 2015 will see the start of a huge increase in transactional levels.  I think that there will be an increase in the number of property investors, both individuals and institutions, coming into the market.  I also hope that the Government comes up with a refined plan to carry on assisting first time buyers to get on to the property market via the second-hand market.

The figure that I will be watching very closely at the end of October 2014 is the number of properties coming on to the market.  If this shows a significant increase compared to 2013, then I feel that the property market will move forward considerably in 2015.  If this figure is the same, or down, compared to 2013, my concern is that 2015 will be a year of stagnation with more pressure put on the developers to come up with part exchange and other novel schemes to assist people in moving property.  I also have a concern that the Bank of England will move too quickly in to put up interest rates and I worry this may nip any recovery before it has time to get hold in the market.

I will continue to report on trends.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner  – Head of Property

BLACKADDERS WILL LIST YOUR PROPERTY FOR SALE WITHOUT ANY UPFRONT COSTS THIS SEPTEMBER

September 2, 2014

Thinking about selling your house? – then don’t miss out on this offer.

38405 A5 Leaflet v1

 

During the month of September, Blackadders will list your property for sale without any upfront costs, that’s right NO upfront costs. To find out more call 01382 342222 or email enquiries@blackadders.co.uk.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

The Doll’s House

August 29, 2014
From left to right: Steven Dewar, Jenny McMillan, Blake McMillan and Lindsay Darroch.

From left to right: Steven Dewar, Jenny McMillan, Blake McMillan and Lindsay Darroch.

Following on my earlier blog regarding The Doll’s House, I am delighted to advise that Curr & Dewar managed to sell the House for £90.  This is a great result and a good contribution to local charity.  I would like to thank all of you who publicised and viewed the property and I would like to thank the successful bidder.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner  – Head of Property    

Help to Buy Scheme

August 7, 2014

Apologies for the length of time since the last blog which has been caused by pressure of work and holidays.  I will give you my summer update on the property market shortly.  In the meantime I have been interested to read reports regarding the Help to Buy Scheme.

The Scottish Government Scheme has run out of money and lenders are now pulling away from the UK supported Help to Buy Scheme.  The influential economic body the OECD has now called for the Scheme to be brought under control with a new lower limit on lending.  The OECD would like this Scheme to be scrapped altogether.

Whilst I agree that there needs to be some tightening up of the criteria I am against the Scheme being withdrawn altogether at this stage.  I do think that the UK property prices are being distorted by the London property market – UK property rose 10.5% in the past 4 months compared to 20.1% in London.  It also has to be noted that in London most properties are purchased without mortgages or at least with very low loan to value mortgages and thus any property bubble that is happening in London will have little or no impact on the banks should it burst.

I do think that there is a struggle for first time buyers to get on the market and as I have argued before first time buyers are the life blood of the property market in particular and the whole economy in general.  I also feel that whilst matters have improved there still needs to be more support for developers both via funding and planning controls to increase the number of properties that are being built.

In conclusion my opinion is that the Government should continue with the Help to Buy Scheme but perhaps restrict it geographically to areas outwith London and also put a cap on the price of transactions that would be supported.

Summer update to follow.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

DOLLS’ HOUSE WILL RAISE MONEY FOR TRUST

July 10, 2014

A beautifully crafted detached dolls’ house is being auction off with the help of the Blackadders property team and Curr & Dewar auctioneers, to raise funds for the The Blake McMillan Trust.

Blake McMillan was diagnosed with MeCP2 Duplications Syndrome shortly after his birth.  It is a cruel and debilitating condition which will mean Blake will probably be unable to walk or talk.

From left to right: Steven Dewar, Jenny McMillan, Blake McMillan and Lindsay Darroch.

From left to right: Steven Dewar, Jenny McMillan, Blake McMillan and Lindsay Darroch.

Jenny McMillan, Blake’s mum who came up with the idea of auctioning the house said:-

“The dolls’ house, which is quite modest, was handcrafted by a local man for his daughters and then played with by his granddaughters too, so it comes with a lovely story – we thought auctioning the house would be a great way to raise funds. We set up the trust to assist Blake with his daily struggles and provide him with equipment and therapies he may need. We set up Hope for Blake to fund raise for research into his rare disorder. There is currently research into MeCP2 Duplication Syndrome in the UK and globally there is a network of researchers currently, we are hopeful that one day soon they will find a cure and to relieve the symptoms of all sufferers of MeCP2 Duplication Syndrome.”

The Dolls’ house is currently displayed in the Blackadders property shop, Whitehall Street, Dundee and the property team will be take bids until the 22nd August. The house will be then be moved to Curr and Dewar and it will go under the hammer on the 26th August.

Lindsay Darroch, partner & head of property at Blackadders commented:-

“We are happy to support Blake and his family. There is no government funding available for research into MeCP2 so the onus is on family and friends to raise as much money as they can to fund research projects. We are glad we can do our bit and we hope this helps raise awareness and much needed funds for this deserving charity.  With no home report required, no stamp duty and no fees,  I am hopeful that this property will generate a lot of interest!”

Steven Dewar from Curr & Dewar commented:

“We are so pleased to be involved with this sale and support this worthwhile cause.  A dolls’ house with its own property schedule showing photos of the individual rooms and the layout is great. We hope this item will generate a lot of interest and raise a considerable amount for the Trust on the day .”

For more information please visit The Blake McMillan Trust Facebook page.

You can view the doll’s house here on the Blackadders website.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

TWO MAJOR ADDITIONS TO OUR EXPANDING PROPERTY TEAM

July 3, 2014

I am delighted to announce that Brian Main and Jill McCulley, both well-known figures in the Dundee, Perth and Angus property markets, have joined our expanding property team.

Brian Main & Jill McCulley

Brian Main & Jill McCulley

Brian joins in the position of Angus Branch Manager. Brian has worked in estate agency for the last 18 years. He has also managed a panel of over 160 estate agents located throughout Scotland which has given him valuable experience on a national level. His experience in the industry and understanding of what constitutes best practice means he is well placed to manage Blackadders growing business in the area.

Jill joins the team as senior property manager and will be responsible for the Dundee and Perth areas. Jill is a former graduate of the University of Dundee and has over 12 years’ experience working within the property and estate agency sector.

I am excited that Brian and Jill have joined the team – their experience, energy and enthusiasm will further enhance the service we provide our clients. We are an ambitious, well-resourced firm with a strong, dynamic team and a very strong track record of innovative thinking. Our clients look to us to provide clear, accurate and quick information. Our commitment to be at the cutting edge of the property sector means that we are always looking at new innovations to maintain that position. We have developed systems to try to make the process of buying or selling a home less complicated and less stressful.  With our use of state of the art technology and by employing some of the best property people in the local area, Blackadders can offer a service that is second to none.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

Scottish Housing News

July 3, 2014

Following a recent landmark ruling in Dundee it has been warned that property investors could lose their HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) licences if they rent out properties to irresponsible tenants.

Dundee’s licensing committee revoked two HMO Licences after their student occupants ‘plagued and ruined’ the life of a neighbour who lived in a property on the city’s Seafield Road under the two flats in question.

The tenants were the subject of at least forty police call-outs and were responsible for flooding of the neighbouring flat on three occasions. This affected the neighbour’s health and also caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to his property. The agent for the two flats had however argued that any damage was quickly repaired and that potential tenants always went through an extensive vetting process. Further he was not aware of any problems at this property.

As a result of these actions the HMOs were revoked at a recent meeting of Dundee City Council’s licensing committee.  I am sure that this verdict will send out a strong message to other HMO operators in Scotland in future.

Nicola McCafferty
Senior Solicitor – Commercial Property

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