Call for Government to introduce lending targets

I wholly support the call by Financial Services Director Nigel Stockton from Countrywide, urging the Government to introduce mortgage lending targets.  He said “Since November last year lenders have been closely monitoring their sales volume by imposing stricter lending criteria and new restrictions on lending.  We would speculate that the continued issues with the Eurozone leading to increased wholesale funding or other liquidity issues are all playing a role in preventing the banks from lending.”  This certainly follows trends that I have reported and I would welcome the Government introducing lender targets which would be of great benefit to the housing market. 

Lindsay Darroch
Partner and Head of Property

The Cost of Change

Readers of previous blogs will know my views on surveys and general reports on house prices.  Trying to explain to a purchaser that not all houses are selling for 10% less than the Home Report valuation is difficult,  especially when they have read in newspaper articles that they should simply offer 10% lower than the asking price!  Each property purchase requires its own individual strategy which can depend on the property type, the asking price and the psychology of the seller.

I guess this reinforces the importance of speaking to an expert in the property market to achieve your best possible price.  Sellers often find it difficult to understand that the focus should be less on the price they achieve for their property and more focus should be on the cost of change, especially if they are moving within a similar property market (as 90% of sellers do).

What do I mean by cost of change?  Well, if you are selling a property and your expectation is £100,000 and the property you are looking to purchase in the local area is £200,000 then the straight cost of change is £100,000.  If you require to take a 15% hit in terms of your asking price to sell your property but your Solicitor manages to negotiate a similar deal at the other end (or better, which is always my challenge!) i.e. purchasing for £170,000, then the cost of change is actually £85,000 rather than the £100,000 and you are £15,000 better off  – not to mention a potential reduction in Stamp Duty and other Government outlays. 

Even with the Home Report we still get properties marketed at low asking prices to attract interest and we also have cases where the Home Report valuation is too high which again needs to be portrayed to the seller as part of the purchasing process.

The property market is tough at the moment and I would advise anyone selling or purchasing property to get the best possible specialist advice.

2nd Blackadders’ Property Auction

I wanted to give an update in relation to our first property auction. I am pleased to advise  we managed to achieve a couple of sales and perhaps more interestingly 75% of the properties at the Auction have had an increase in viewing activity and 33% of the properties advertised at the Auction now have parties interested in purchasing. The properties that featured at the first auction were a wide range of interest to all types of buyers and the audience consisted mainly of property investors which was to be expected (I am noticing an increase in property investor deals and I will report on this trend  shortly in a future blog). I feel these stats show the potential of property auctions and reinforces the importance of instructing a Firm of Solicitor Estate Agents who have an innovative approach to selling properties. 

On the back of the success of the first auction I would advise that we are holding our 2nd property auction on the 26th of June. I am delighted that we have again managed to secure the services of Steven Dewar of Curr & Dewar as our Auctioneer and we are hosting it at the Apex Hotel, Dundee.

For more information and to register a property or as a bidder please contact the Blackadders’ Property Team on 01382 342222 or via our e-mail address of  More information will appear in the local press and on our website.

I look forward to seeing you on the 26th.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

Mortgage Lending Tightening

I have noticed that clients are once again finding it difficult to get mortgage funding for their purchases. I recently read a report from Mortgage Advice Bureau’s CEO, Peter Brodnicki, estimating that the total mortgage market in 2012 will be £125b. This compares with £135b last year and £360b at the height of the boom. Peter Brodnicki said “…..with Santander announcing that it will be lending £10b less this year it is hard to see that anyone will pick up the slack and indeed some other lenders could follow suit.”

With problems in Greece and other members of the Eurozone potentially having an impact on British Banks and with ever tightening regulations I have a concern about lack of mortgage finance impacting on the Scottish property market.

This reinforces to me the importance of clients getting independent mortgage advice from qualified Mortgage Advisers to ensure that they get the best possible deal available to them on the market and secure a mortgage that they might not otherwise have got.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner and Head of Property

Self-build fund

I was interested to read that Housing Minister Grant Shapps has launched a £30m fund to provide short-term finance for self-builders. He has also contacted mainstream lenders asking them to provide finance for self-build projects. He is working closely with self-build champion Kevin McLeod (from T.V. show Grand Designs), to highlight how important self-build is for the economy. I welcome this event and would ask that mainstream lenders show positive support for the self-build market which is hugely important to the property market as a whole. I am certainly noticing an increase in clients looking to develop sites or build their own home on plots and any assistance would be very welcome.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner and Head of Property

First time buyers – key to property market

Apologies for the lack of blogs over the last few weeks.  This has been brought about by an unprecedented surge in activity in the Scottish property market in general and my business in particular.  This is a good sign, however, there are some interesting and perhaps worrying trends developing which I will report on over the next few weeks.  I read the report yesterday from Your Move indicating a massive surge in first time buyers prior to the end of Stamp Duty Relief.  I have to report that this is not my experience and I am becoming more and more concerned regarding the lack of first time buyers in the market.  I have not seen any official statistics but my own view is that lack of mortgage finance is severely curtailing first time buyer activity.  The Government’s New Buy Scheme launched in England to assist first time buyers purchasing new properties has failed to have any impact.  I would urge the Government to bring in a scheme to assist first time buyers who are looking to buy any property in the UK market.  This would release the property market, boost the construction industry, boost retail and have a huge positive impact on the UK economy.  This could be funded by tightening up the Capital Gains Tax Rules so that you have to be in your property for a certain period of time before you can sell it without incurring any Capital Gains Tax, i.e. if you live in a house for more than five years it can be classed as your sole or main residence, if you sell it prior to five years you then have to pay a percentage of the gain depending on how long you have lived in the property.  As well as funding any assistance to first time buyers this would also have the positive impact of curtailing property speculation.

I will report further on the property market soon.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner and Head of Property