Women Ahead Awards 2014

I was delighted to once again be on the panel of judges and present at the Women Ahead Awards.   The annual prize giving which took place on Saturday 15th of March at the Apex hotel was a great success and thanks must be passed on to the brilliant team who pulled it all together.  There were a number of worthy winners and it was very inspiring to meet all the finalists and learn about their fantastic businesses achievements.  The photograph shows me presenting the Blackadders Most Enterprising Business of the Year Award to Caroline Millar of The Hideaway Experience.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property

Stamp Duty Changes

Following on from my recent blog regarding Scottish Government proposals to change SDLT in 2015, I have been interested to hear, as the March budget approaches, the increasing calls on the Chancellor to amend Stamp Duty.  As well as RICS we have also recently had the National Association of Estate Agents issuing a statement, calling on the Chancellor to make the supply of homes and mobility in the property market a major theme for this year’s budget. This chimes very much with my own feelings in relation to the social and economic benefits that are derived from assisting people to get on the property market.  Whilst I have some concerns regarding the proposed changes from the Scottish Government to SDLT,  I do agree that the slab structure of Stamp Duty requires to be amended to make it a more progressive tax.  I also feel that the levels at which the Stamp Duty rate kicks in, and thereafter changes, should also be amended to reflect the increased prices in the property market and also assist the mobility of people to get onto the housing ladder.

With this point in mind I was very pleased to hear an innovative approach from the Halifax who are offering to pay Stamp Duty for a first time buyer as part of one of their first time buyer products.

Lindsay Darroch 
Partner & Head of Property

Property Market Overview

Readers of my blogs will know that I am planning to report on my predictions for the 2014 property market once we are passed the end of March.  However, I thought it would be interesting to gather some info up to the end of February and give you a brief update.  I caveat my comments by saying that these are not based on any official figures but simply from the Blackadders’ Property team stats, pieces of information that I have picked up over the last week or so and also my own feelings about how the property market is performing.

As stated in a number of my market overview blogs, there is still very much an east/west divide in the Scottish property market – the west coast, in particular Glasgow,  is very much lagging behind the rest of the country.   On the other hand  there are signs of improvement in the east coast  and Aberdeen is still performing exceptionally well.

My feeling is that transactional levels, i.e. sales and purchases will be up by about 20% and with the number of properties coming on to the market showing a much smaller increase – probably 10%.  This ratio can only carry on for so long without there being a serious increase in property price inflation and thereafter stagnation.  I am already noticing signs of price inflation in the number of closing dates that I have been offering in the last couple of months, the outcomes of which I monitor very closely.  The Blackadders’ Estate Agency team are also coming across the words we are not prepared to put our house on the market until we see something that we want to buy – this is potentially the beginning of stagnation (in relation to price inflation it will be interesting to see how the Home Report copes – or doesn’t (!) and I will have a further blog on this shortly).

I am noticing developers gearing up sites and applying for planning permission for large scale developments but these will not come on line, if at all, until 2015.

On a positive note I am noticing an increase in the number of property investors coming in to the market, in particular in Dundee,  attracted by its comparatively low entry prices, good rental yields and potential for capital growth on the back of the redevelopment of the city.

Let us hope that the Ides of March do not bode an inflation/stagnation cycle for the property market.  I will report again soon.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property