Property Update – November

I am sorry that there have been so few blogs recently.  This should be taken as a good sign in terms of the activity levels in the Scottish property market.  I thought it would be useful to have a general update on the property market.  In January I will be starting off with my review of 2011 and my predictions for 2012, and then every month I will publish a general overview blog giving you the figures and stats as I see them.

Activity levels for November in the Scottish property market are bearing up remarkably well.  There is still an East/West divide with the West Coast – in particular the Glasgow area which is struggling to gain any momentum.  Aberdeen continues to boom, Edinburgh is showing signs of recovery and Dundee is still punching above its weight, both in terms of listings and sales.  Sellers are becoming more realistic in terms of their expectations and asking prices and I now see a greater willingness for people to “do a deal”.  This reinforces the need for people who are thinking about buying or selling property to turn to specialists – they may pay a slightly higher fee but the results and benefits are clear.

During the month of November we had the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement which included proposals in relation to the housing market.  While I welcome any proposal to stimulate the housing market I do feel that there was a missed opportunity and I am frustrated at the inability of both UK and Scottish Governments to grasp the importance of the property market to the general economy.  As readers of my blogs will know, a very simple plan to assist first time buyers, encourage developers to develop more properties, increase the funding of social housing and the abolition of the Home Report in Scotland would go a long way to assist the property market and have huge benefits for the general economy. 

In relation to the Home Report, I was very interested to read an article in the Sunday Times on 4 December calling for its abolition in Scotland.  I have recently come across two cases which reinforce to me the need to abolish the Home Report.  In one case a property languished on the market for more than two years because when the Surveyor had got the initial Home Report Valuation wrong – it was too high – and the seller was then unwilling to put their property on the market at a reasonable level. In another case, the Surveyor, under pressure from the seller/seller’s agent, had slightly amended and watered down his Home Report. This highlights to me the tension in the Home Report system in that it is instructed by the seller but relied upon by the purchaser.

Overall in the month of November I noticed a steady increase in the number of buy to let investors coming into the market lured by attractive prices and good yields and the promise of future capital growth in the long-term.   I have also been in discussions with a number of lenders regarding exclusive mortgage products for first time buyers and new build properties and I hope to be able to make some announcements shortly.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner and Head of Property

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