Guest writer John Donaldson examines the possible effects of independence on the Scottish property market.
Thousands of people from all over the world search for homes in cities like Glasgow every year, many captivated by the sense of history and the image of wild empty mountainous landscapes and mysterious glens. It's a heady mix of past and present, often cleverly packaged and presented to well-heeled would-be property owners determined to buy into their own particular version of the Scottish dream. It's no surprise either to find many can even trace a Scottish connection or two going back across the generations.
It's the hot topic of the moment. Yet despite the romanticism associated with Scotland's whisky, kilts and shortbread image, astute property investors tend to base investment decisions on more down-to-earth criteria. At this point in time, unsurprisingly, constitutional and political uncertainty is likely to figure strongly.
A recent Guardian newspaper article claimed although the mid-market remained buoyant, with Savills reporting a 100% increase in the number of London-based buyers registering an interest in Scottish property this year, some wealthier buyers were pausing for thought.
George Lorimer, partner at estate agency CKD Galbraith, told the Guardian, “There is a hesitancy at the top end of the market where significant land ownership is involved. People are thinking very carefully about what the outcome of the referendum could mean for them. We've had a strong quarter but there is a degree of nervousness about the next quarter. It is the general election effect – people start to get worried about the uncertainty and don't want to do anything until they know what is happening.”
However, if there's one common aspect to be found in the property market everywhere, it's the lack of homogeneity. Recent research by residential property experts Move with Us, in conjunction with Home.co.uk, for example, found Aberdeen to be the UK's new property hotspot, with properties in parts of the city selling in an average of just nine days.
Three Aberdeenshire postcodes, AB22, AB12 and AB32, took the top three positions in the Move with Us top 20 table, with properties selling in nine, 12 and 12 days respectively. A further three came in at positions seven, 10 and 19, with properties selling in 17, 18 and 21 days.
Other fast moving locations in the UK were in Sutton, Greater London, where properties in the postcode SM5 are selling in just 15 days. This was closely followed by CB1 (Cambridge) and BS7 (Bristol) with 16 and 18 days respectively.
Move with Us director Robin King said, “The postcodes in the top 20 highlight areas where there is a skilled workforce, indicating higher wages and subsequently a fast paced property market.
“In such a fast moving market, for a buyer to be in with a chance of securing their ideal property, they will need to ensure they have a mortgage agreed in principle and are legally prepared early on in the process so that contracts can be issued by their solicitor within 48 hours of an offer being accepted. Without these things in place, buyers will often lose out to cash buyers and savvy investors.”
More from the research findings are available here.
John Donaldson is a freelance writer specialising in the Scottish property market. He has specialised within all matters within the Scottish housing market for over 30 years.