The property market is something that affects us all, be it buying and selling a house, to property investment. This blog is our take on the property market in Scotland in general, and Dundee and Angus in particular. To get in touch with us, please visit www.blackadders.co.uk.
Blackadders LLP and respected Aberdeen-based Adam Cochran are to merge on 1 January 2014.
The merged practice will have 21 partners and 170 staff and will trade under the Blackadders banner. Adam Cochran has particular expertise in the fields of private client, residential and rural property, family law and dispute resolution. The firm will offer a full service capability for business and private clients, acting for household name companies and charities, along with thousands of private individuals, many of whom are also clients of its Wealth Management unit.
Peter Robertson and Gareth Masson, partners at Adam Cochran, will become partners with Blackadders, while Ryan McKay, recently appointed a partner and head of the Dispute Resolution team, will be based principally in Aberdeen from the beginning of next year.
Promising early investment in the Aberdeen office at Adam Cochran’s existing premises at 6 Bon Accord Square, Johnston Clark, managing partner, said: “We are delighted to be strengthening Blackadders for the future by joining forces with Adam Cochran, a long-established well-regarded law firm in Aberdeen. This will give the firm a strong and unique presence in the major centres on Scotland’s east coast, offering a full range of services from our Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh offices. Our growth into a national firm will create increased strength and depth of client service.”
Mr Clark said that the merger with Adam Cochran was motivated by a desire to establish a Blackadders office in the north-east to service its existing client base and to develop new business within the region.
Peter Robertson, managing partner at Adam Cochran commented “We share with Blackadders partners a vision of the highest quality of advice and service to our clients and the merger will provide great synergies. Gareth and I are delighted to be joining Blackadders, we expect to be busier than ever whilst providing continuity of service to our clients.”
This latest move follows last year’s successful merger between Blackadders and the long-established Edinburgh practice of McKay Norwell.
Prior to this week’s announcement, Blackadders has appointed five new partners this year – a combination of internal promotions and lateral hires – and five trainees.
With all these recent headlines regarding house price bubbles, I am sure you will be surprised to read a blog about property market stagnation, however, this is something I have a real concern about. Currently we are seeing Scottish-wide trends, with the number of sales being up between 15% – 20% but with the number of listings i.e. new properties coming onto the market at best staying the same and in some areas actually dropping – more properties are selling than coming on.
This is leading to increased price volatility as more people chase after fewer properties. This is reminiscent of the early and late ‘90s, when transaction levels in the Scottish property market dropped and it very much became a trading market, i.e. “I’m not putting my house on the market until I find one that I want to buy”. The two things that broke that cycle were the Banks increasing lending to first-time buyers and a massive increase in new-build developments. The increase of the new-build developments led to a surge of stock coming on to the market which by early 2000 got the property market back on an even keel. Whilst I am in discussions with a number of developers regarding an increase in the proposed developments that are due to begin in Scotland, it will take a while for these properties to come on to the market.
What needs to happen in the meantime:-
1. More assistance for first-time buyers to enable them to buy second-hand stock. There are lots of flats and first-time buyer suitable properties languishing on the property market at present. This would free up a whole group of purchasers which should assist with the free-flowing property market that we require.
2. The Home Report should be disbanded, or at least suspended, for six months. The Home Report is a barrier against speculative selling and we need to do everything we can to encourage more people to put their properties on the market.
3. The Banks need to be encouraged to support developers of all sizes in relation to kicking off new-build developments.
4. The Scottish Government needs to do more to assist the building of new properties.
5. Local Authorities need to be encouraged to be more relaxed and speed up the process in relation to planning matters.
I will continue to monitor the trends and will let you know how matters progress.