New Homes

I was interested to read that the UK Government has announced the New Homes Bonus Payments Scheme, totalling over £900m, which will be shared amongst England’s 353 councils. This scheme allows councils to enter into new build schemes and will enable them to bring empty homes back into use. It follows hot on the heels of Boris Johnson’s announcement that an additional 11,000 new homes are to be built in the London Plan. It is a now more important than ever for the UK and Scottish Governments to focus in on a new build program to add to the number of properties coming on to the market.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

The Dreaded Home Report

Readers of my blog will know I am no fan of the Home Report.  In my opinion this was a misguided piece of legislation brought in to deal with a problem that did not exist and the impact it has had on the Scottish property market has been catastrophic and expensive.  I am delighted to hear that the Scottish Government has launched a public consultation to seek views and experiences on the Home Report and how it works in the current market.  My understanding is that the Scottish Government has already made up its minds that there will be no change to the Home Report, however, I would still urge people to submit their views.  The website page is homereportconsultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.  The closing date for the consultation is the end of February 2014 and the information will thereafter be collated and a report provided later this year.  I will let you know should I hear anything further.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property 

Referendum – Impact on the Property Market

I was asked recently what impact the forthcoming Referendum is having on the Scottish property market.  I would advise that certainly in relation to the residential property market, the Referendum in September 2014 does not seem to be impacting on demand for Scottish property.  It will be interesting to see if this changes as the Referendum date draws nearer and I will keep you advised of any trends.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

Don’t Panic – At Least Not Yet

As January draws to an end, what trends are showing in the Scottish property market?  There has been a spate of reports regarding increases in UK house prices and the recent property transactions that I have dealt with would indicate that this is being replicated throughout Scotland. As the economy continues to improve and confidence returns, the number of purchasers and the amount of mortgage funds available to borrow is increasing.

The increase in purchasers and mortgage funds is increasing far more rapidly than any increase in the number of properties coming on the market, repeating a trend seen in 2013. The impact of supply and demand being out of synch is being shown by price spikes in certain locations throughout Scotland. I know from discussions with a number of large developers that there are a number of developments coming on stream over the next couple of years but this will not impact on the 2014 property market.

My focus for the property market would remain similar to previous years but focussing on the removal of all barriers to encourage new properties on to the market – this includes developers.  My plan would be as follows:-

1. UK, Scottish Government and Local Governments to do all they can to remove planning barriers to enable developers to embark upon a major house building and development programme.

2. Increase in Bank funding and support for developers (large and small) to increase the supply of houses coming onto the market.

3. The abolition of the Home Report – this is more than ever looking like a tax on house selling and is clearly a barrier to the number of properties coming on the market (a blog to follow).

4. Continued support for first time buyers – without them the property market will not flow freely.

In conclusion, I think that January has shown a slight increase in the number of properties coming on to the market but it is certainly not the big whoosh of properties that a number of property experts had been expecting.   It is too early to use the dreaded word “stagnation” and I think matters will become clearer at the end of February.

To use the words of Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army – “don’t panic” – at least not yet!

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property