As stability comes into the property market and normality returns to bank lending, I am noticing an increase in the number of developers that are now actively looking at the market. This is the full range of developers from major nationwide developers to local developers looking at small developments. At this stage in the cycle of the property market, there is an urgent need for an increase in the amount of properties that are available for people to purchase. It is also good to see individuals and banks willing to invest and speculate in the property market.

I attach a picture of a sign of a recent development that we have become involved with, the re-development of the Taychreggan Hotel in central Broughty Ferry which will provide six luxury flats in a prime location. For more information, contact the Blackadders property team on 01382 342222.


Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property


The first five months of 2016 have proved to be very interesting.  For the first quarter of 2016 new properties coming on the market were approximately 8% down.  This was causing an increase in prices and led to me fearing a stagnating market.  The introduction of the Additional Dwelling Supplement on the 1st April 2016 manipulated the market and caused a massive surge of transactions, culminating in a mad March.  Certain areas in Scotland were indicating that March figures for flats were in excess of 40% up on the same time as last year.  Again, I was concerned that the market may have sold itself out and that this would distort figures for the remainder of the year.

I am delighted to advise that my feeling is that there has been a big increase in the number of properties coming on to the market in April and May.  I expect that to be reflected in nationwide figures when I get the official figures at the end of June.  The right properties in the right areas are still flying off the shelf and achieving good and increasing prices.  My anticipation is that the number of properties coming on the market will continue to increase and that by quarter 3 of 2016 we will see a level of activity in the property market similar to 2006 i.e. just before the extreme highs of 2007.

As a split between the four main cities, Aberdeen continues to be in the doldrums, Edinburgh and Dundee are both performing strongly and Glasgow is on fire.  I will let you know as soon as I have a further update.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property


I have been interested to read recently a number of reports in relation to Brexit and the housing market.  Firstly I would advise that at ground level I have not noticed any residential transactions being postponed because of the imminent EU Referendum.   This is very much against my experience of the Scottish Referendum where I noticed a number of transactions being postponed or cancelled.  I am sure that at a higher level, in particular in relation to businesses that export to Europe, investment plans or property expansion plans are being put on hold or postponed until after the Referendum.

So what if we vote to leave?  In my opinion and from the various readings that I have done on the subject I believe that if we vote to leave the EU there will be a sharp jolt throughout the whole economy in particular the banking section.  This will not only impact on general market confidence and settlement but I do suspect this will lead to a limiting of mortgages, a potential increase in interest rates and a knock on effect to the economy as a whole and the housing market in particular.  Whether you are in favour or against Brexit, I don’t think anyone can deny the potential impact on the housing market – at least in the short term.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property



I was delighted to carry on my firm’s long involvement with the Whitehall Theatre.  As a very proud Dundonian I am excited and very positive about the redevelopment of the city and in particular the waterfront. With all this massive investment it is also good to see a local icon, as the Whitehall Theatre is to most Dundonians, go from strength to strength.

Our initial sponsorship will be used to purchase a curtain which will be used to amend the size of the auditorium increasing the number and types of production that the Whitehall Theatre is able to host.  The undernoted photo, which is courtesy of the Evening Telegraph, Dundee and taken by photographer Bob Douglas shows me presenting the cheque to the Trustees of the Whitehall Theatre.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property


As promised, I thought that I would give you my further thoughts in relation to the Additional Dwelling Supplement.  As readers of my blogs know, I am against this supplement as I feel 1) it will cause a manipulation of the market, 2) there will be unintended consequences and 3) it will put a brake on property investors buying certain properties which will have a blocking effect on the housing market, rather than the freeing up that was intended.  I will answer these points in order:-

  1. Manipulation of the Market I can confirm from personal experience, and also from speaking to other property lawyers, that there was a massive increase in the number of property investors purchasing investment properties in February and March of this year, prior to the introduction of the surcharge.  In my own local area of Dundee and Angus there was a 45% increase in the number of flats sold in March.  I have also been acting for a number of clients across Scotland and had to deal with rapidly increasing prices and competitive situations.
  1. Unintended Consequences – Clients may want to assist a child in buying a property and the only option may be to incorporate themselves onto the Title – this will now carry an extra 3% charge. Similarly, a separating couple where the person leaving the matrimonial home needs to buy another property will now incur the 3% charge. The unfairness of the system seems very clear to me.
  1. Blocking of the Housing Market – The surcharge was intended to price property investors out of the market to make it easier for first time buyers but in my experience, investors are generally not purchasing the types of properties that would be of interest to first time buyers. All that’s happened is there’s now a swathe of sellers who no longer have the property investors looking at their property or if they do, the investor has factored in the 3% charge. This is perhaps not true in all cases as there will be some instances where it will be easier for first time buyers to step on the ladder because they are not competing with property investors, but I would suggest that this will be by far the minority of cases.  A drying up of the supply of rented properties will increase rents meaning it will be harder for people to save the requisite deposit to allow them on the property ladder. I would hope that the Government would use some of the 3% surcharge to fund a scheme to assist first time buyers gain access to 95% loan to value mortgages, thus minimising their deposit to 5%.

I was also very interested to read an article by Phillip Aldrick in The Times on Saturday 23rd April.  The article was based on the introduction of a Land Bank Tax – a stick to encourage developers to begin developing properties to feed into the market.  This would have the benefit of alleviating the shortage of houses throughout the UK and would also help control prices, which continue to soar due to lack of supply.  I would agree with this policy. He concluded:-

Taxes are not just about revenues, they can be used to change behaviour.  Get a Land Bank policy right and it might not raise a penny but it could turn Britain’s dream of more houses into reality”.

In conclusion, I would urge the Government to rethink the Additional Dwelling Surcharge, introduce a Land Bank Tax and also change the Capital Gains Tax policies in relation to properties, using the extra funds raised to create a first time buyer fund.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property


It has been a very interesting start to the year for the property market.  After a very sluggish start in January, the number of new properties coming on to the market across Scotland picked up, with March being one of the best months ever. Although numbers were still considerably below peak market levels of 2007, Quarter 1 of 2016 was certainly moving in the right direction.

The extra properties coming on to the market were also reflective in the increase in purchases, which was driven to extreme levels in March with the introduction of the additional dwelling supplement coming in on the 1st April. This caused property investors to make purchases early to avoid the 3% surcharge (more on this in another blog).  As an aside, I am still not noticing any cooling off with property investor activity although it is perhaps too early to say at this stage what the rest of the year will be like.

Developers continue to play their part with new sites coming on line and incentives, such as part exchange, being used where necessary.  My feeling is that Quarter 2 will follow a similar pattern with April being slightly quieter but with a pick-up in May and June, with hopefully higher levels than 2015.

The main exception for the Scottish market is in relation to Aberdeen, which is going through a correction and I think 2016 will be a tough time for that market – again a blog to follow.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property


Following on from my previous blogs I was interested to read a press release from Retties in relation to the impact that last year’s changes to LBTT (Stamp Duty) had on the £1m + market.  There was a 23% rise in £1m sales in Scotland in 2015 compared to a 5% rise in the general market.  However the interesting thing is that two-thirds of the sales occurred in the first four months of the year to beat the higher LBTT from April.

As previously indicated, my view is that the 3% surcharge will cause a very similar distortion and it will be interesting to see the stats over the next couple of months.

The Association of Taxation Technicians has released a report advising that in their opinion the stamp duty surcharge is incredibly unfair and will have an adverse impact on the very people the government claims to be helping.  They point to the fact that married couples are being treated as one unit and also that there is no exemption to deal with parents assisting young adult children getting on to the property ladder.

Let’s see what happens in the next couple of months!

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property