Shelter Calls for a New Kind of Renting Contract

Given my concerns about an overheating property rental market, I was interested in the report from Shelter calling for a new kind of tenancy to be introduced across England.  Shelter’s proposals are outlined in a new report which they believe will lead to a more stable private rental market.  This report only impacts on England although readers of previous blogs will know there has been a similar increase in private rentals in Scotland over the last couple of years.  I was interested to read a statistic that the number of people who rent their homes from a Landlord has almost doubled to 8.5 million people over the last 15 years in England.  This is definitely something that the Scottish Government should look at as well.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

£40 Million Set Aside for Affordable Housing in 2013/2014 Scottish Budget

I was pleased that John Swinney has announced £40m for affordable housing to be spent as part of the Scottish Budget for 2013/14.  This money is to be used to support the construction industry and inject growth into the economy by way of investment in affordable housing.  I think this is a welcome announcement and, coupled with the Scottish Government’s help for first time buyers, shows the importance that all Governments are placing on the construction industry to the economy and recognises the immediate economic and social benefits in building more affordable homes.  I do think in particular that the Scottish and UK Governments should do more to help first time buyers because, until they get first time buyers moving into the market in stronger numbers, neither the property market nor the construction industry will fully stabilise.   As I have said before, I am concerned that the rental sector is overheating with an increasing demand causing rents to rise rapidly.

More on this later.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

Blackadders Moves into Edinburgh

As some of you may already be aware my Firm has now ventured into the Scottish capital. We have merged with the Firm of McKay Norwell which is a well-respected Firm within Edinburgh legal circles.  From a property point of view this gives us a strong foothold in the Edinburgh property market from which we can hopefully grow and develop, servicing both existing and new clients.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

Controlling the Property Boom

I was interested to read an interview with BBC Business Editor, Robert Peston, in the Times on Saturday 22 September 2012.  He made a number of interesting points, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t!

One point he made was that investigative journalists like him should have made more of a noise about the property boom and the bubble in house prices being created by government and bank policies. He went on to say that this should have been reported more loudly on the 10 o’clock news, for instance.  I think there is a fine line between factual reporting and giving opinion – there is a myriad of experts who all have different economic forecasts and their opinions and views can vary hugely.

I did, however, agree with his point that more could have been done to control the property boom although I don’t think this was the responsibility of the Bank of England. But I do believe more could have been done by the UK Government to take the heat out of the property market.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, this could have been done by changes to the Capital Gains Tax rules and also Stamp Duty rules.  Hopefully this is something that they will now consider as a means of controlling future bubbles and perhaps building up a first time buyer fund.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

The Summer Holidays Are Over but is the Property Market Going Back to Work?

It has been a while since I have written a property blog although there has been a lot happening.

I thought I would start with a quick overview.  In my June overview I did mention that there were some icy winds blowing across the property market and it would be interesting to see what impact they would have.  The feedback from my own experiences and that of the Blackadders’ Property Team is that listings from the middle of August have not increased the way I would expect them to and are very much lagging behind previous years.  This for me is slightly concerning as in terms of normal market flow it is important that there is a stock of property built up in September prior to the October holidays.  Despite various government initiatives (more blogs on these later) the number of first time buyers continues to be at record low levels.  This is having an impact on the whole market. 

I still believe the long-term outlook for the property market in Scotland is very strong but my feeling is that activity levels will continue at low levels until the turn of the year and then we will see a continued and ever improving housing market. 

These are just trends and I will continue to report on them as and when I get more information. 

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property