Scottish Labour’s Support for First Time Buyers

I was very interested to read Kezia Dugdale’s proposals in support of first time buyers.  Whilst I do not think the plan goes far enough, I think it is very positive that we have a party that appears to recognise the aspirational nature of home ownership and the importance of first time buyers to the housing market and the wider economy.   Not only does a stable housing market assist the economy, my view is that it also benefits society as a whole as people also have a financial stake in their communities as well as a moral one.

I would urge all parties to look at more ways of supporting first time buyers and also schemes to increase the amount of house being built.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property
www.blackadders.co.uk 

Blackadders – first solicitor/estate agent firm to launch iPhone Property App in Scotland

In the last few years estate agents and conveyancers have been challenged to provide the best possible service at the best possible price. To step up to this challenge we have embraced the use of the latest technologies and techniques available. In 2009 we launched our new website and property system, complete with a client interaction area. This secure login area allows our clients to track the progress of their property sale at a time that is convenient for them. When anything significant happens, such as a viewer booking an appointment, the system automatically sends an update to the client and it is recorded in the system. Any comments we receive back from that viewer are posted on to the system. The client can either choose to receive a feedback call from us or they can login to the system and check for updates at a time that suits them. The system also allows prospective buyers to enter their property criteria and as soon we have a property match it will send out the property details to that prospective buyer automatically.

Our commitment to be at the cutting edge of the legal and property sectors means that we are always looking at new innovations to maintain that position. Following the positive feedback we received after the launch of our website and our commendation award at the DADI (Drum Awards for Digital Industries), it seemed like a natural progression to design an App that would allow those looking for a new home to search our entire portfolio of property for sale and allow our clients to access the client interaction area while on the move.

Although the Scottish property market is showing small signs of improvement we still need to ensure that our clients’ properties are seen by as many people as possible. We hope that by giving people access to our property portfolio through many different sources and allowing clients to access information at the touch of a screen, it will speed up the sale of property and improve the market further.

The key consideration when we were designing the iPhone App was to ensure that the interface was simple to use and that there was synergy between the App, our property system and our website.  We worked with local digital firm Avian on the project for several months and have produced an iPhone App that not only looks fantastic but is user-friendly and has some great functionality. The Blackadders App allows you to search by location, property type and price; view full property details with images, descriptions, floor plans and maps; book a viewing and even submit a Note of Interest. In a tough economic climate we believe it’s important that we stay ahead of the game and continue to develop and use the technologies that are out there to try to make the process of buying and selling a home less complicated and less stressful.

Let us know what you think – download the FREE Blackadders iPhone App from the iPhone App Store.  Search for ‘Blackadders’ to download.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

Multi speed property market recovery

I was very interested to read a report carried out by Savills which provided analysis of the last 15 years of land registry data.  The conclusion of this report is that the UK property market is very much following previous trends in that the property market recovery is being led by the top end properties i.e. the least affordable properties in the most affluent areas.  As Lucian Cook, Director of Research at Savills stated: “The bottom end of the market does not appear to have the potential to bounce in line with the top end, now or in the foreseeable future.  Its recovery may only be possible if and when mortgage lending frees up or as investors start to see potential in the local private rental sector.”

This report very much coincides with my feelings in respect of the Scottish property market in general and the Dundee market in particular.  We are seeing good activity in the middle to top end of the market with listings being ahead of targets.  I am anticipating that sales will follow this trend, however, the lack of first time buyers is holding back the bottom end of the market with again the lack of first time buyers causing the major problems.  Readers of previous blogs will know my thoughts regarding the problems that first time buyers face and the knock on effect this has on the market. Interestingly, I was reading a report regarding the Welsh property market which has now seen first time buyers dropping below 20%.  This is the area that must be tackled.  A recent ARLA report predicts a trend away from owner occupier from 70% to 60% and is also predicting a drop in the registered social landlord i.e. council housing and housing association with the big growth coming in the private rental market.  This would certainly be a big social and economic shift and I will issue a blog on this topic shortly.

In the meantime prices for medium to top end properties are starting to slowly increase with prices for traditional first time buyer properties at best holding value.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

Blackadders’ 3rd Annual Property Sale

Blackadders annual property saleI am delighted to advise that our 3rd Annual Property Sale is now bigger and better than ever with 57 properties taking part and with savings of up to £50,000 from Home Report valuations.

I think this initiative shows prospective purchasers the possible bargains that are out there and the fact that it is a great time to be buying.  It also shows our innovative  and pro-active approach to selling properties.

Should you require further information then please do not hesitate to contact either myself or a member of the Blackadders Property Services Team.

Click here to view the properties taking part in this sale.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

UK house prices fell 1.3% in December

Although I am against the sensationalist aspects relating to house price surveys (the most recent conducted by the Halifax) I was interested to note that they expect limited movement in house prices during 2011 as interest rates are likely to remain low for some time.  They also pinpointed a reluctance to sell from some homeowners, this halting a decline in prices.

I do agree with this sentiment and am firmly of the view that house prices will remain stable during the course of 2011. However, I don’t think it will be any easier to sell your property and would therefore emphasize the importance of getting an experienced solicitor estate agency to sell your property.  On the other hand, I don’t think that there will be many bargains around and again when purchasing, speak to a property specialist to ensure that you are buying a property for the best possible price that you can.

2011 will be a very interesting year for the housing market!

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services

Is the Government reconsidering Home Reports?

I have heard with interest a rumour, nothing more than a rumour, that the Scottish Government is now actively reconsidering their position on Home Reports in light of the withdrawal of the deferred payment facility by Close Brothers.  My understanding is that they are considering temporarily withdrawing the Home Report to give the property market a welcome boost and also to assist financially disadvantaged sellers.

I would strongly welcome this move – I will let you know should I hear anything further.

I would add that currently, as previously mentioned (see 10 December 2010 post), I have been in communication with a number of surveying firms who have advised me that they will either have their own deferred payment scheme or would look favourably on any request for a deferred payment report.

Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact either myself or any member of the Blackadders Property Services Team.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services
T: 01382 229222
E: lindsay.darroch@blackadders.co.uk

Encouraging signs for property investors

Readers of previous blogs will know that I have been closely monitoring the increase in rental returns across Scotland,  in particular Dundee, and I would advise that this trend shows no sign of abating.

With the property market currently showing subdued activity levels due to mortgage pressures (and also the weather), there has never been a better time for someone interested in property to invest in the property market.

The caveat to this is that it is very important that you take advice from solicitors experienced in property investment.  I would be more than happy to have an initial no cost meeting with you to discuss the various options available to you.

Lindsay Darroch
Head of Property Services
T: 01382 229222
E: lindsay.darroch@blackadders.co.uk