Property industry says Scotland No vote will bring renewed enthusiasm
Scotland’s property market is likely to see renewed enthusiasm and a rise in prices in sales after the historic referendum vote which saw independence rejected.
The residential real estate industry welcomed the No vote and said that the market, which has been stalled to a certain extent, can now not only return to normality but is also likely to see growth as those who put buying or selling on hold are now reassured.
‘With the outcome now certain and Scotland voting to remain part of the United Kingdom, we can expect to see some positive movement in the Scottish housing market. It is good news for Scottish estate agents and their customers who can now look forward to a less frenetic housing discussion and market,’ said Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
‘Although the outcome does not necessarily guarantee clarity for the market, the mist of ambiguity will clear much earlier than if the outcome to Scottish independence was Yes. Therefore, there is likely to be a substantial increase in market activity in the coming months, with an increase seen in the volume of sales and investments,’ he explained.
But he warned that this could disrupt house prices in the short term, although not significantly. ‘The existing concerns around increases in interest rates and a significant hike in stamp duty will undoubtedly have a bigger impact over the next 12 months,’ added Hayward.
According to Ran Morgan, head of Knight Frank Scotland, the certainty provided by the No vote will allow the property market to return to more normal trading conditions. ‘The fundamentals are in place to ensure a full recovery, led by the key cities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and rural counties within commuting distance of large employment hubs. Improving economic activity levels in the UK, better consumer sentiment and higher bank lending will all help to kick-start the market,’ he said.
‘We expect we will be very busy in the coming months as vendors and buyers, many of whom have put off making a decision to buy or sell a property in Scotland due to the referendum, return to the market. This will lead to an increase in the number of transactions at all levels of the market,’ he pointed out.
‘We believe that the outlook for the prime property market in Scotland is positive. Our forecast is that prime values will rise by 3% by the end of this year and by a further 3% to 6% in 2015,’ he added.
Andrew Rettie, head of agency for Strutt & Parker in Scotland, also believes that the No vote will inject confidence, optimism and stability into the market which will experience a renewed vigour in the latter months of 2014.
‘We all hope this will be a shot in the arm for the Scottish housing market and that the momentum seen earlier in the year returns to the sector. Buyers and sellers who have stalled in recent months while waiting to see how the referendum plays out can now move forward with relative certainty about what lies ahead,’ he said.
‘In helping this process, we appeal to the Westminster government for urgent clarity on the tax raising and legislative powers which will be devolved to Holyrood so that vendors and purchasers can plan accordingly,’ he added.
Strutt & Parker’s senior partner, Andy Martin, also said that there needs to be certainty from Westminster on further devolution in order to confidently resume normality. ‘However, it is a stepping stone. We can now return to work and continue furthering our economic recovery together,’ he added.
Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy and parliamentary affairs at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), also called clarity, reassurance and direction from Westminster.
‘RICS is an organisation with a Royal Charter and, therefore, has a duty to use our members knowledge and insight for wider public benefit. We are committed to ensuring that our members play a positive and active role in shaping the built environment. As a consequence of our Royal Charter, RICS in Scotland is in a unique position to provide a balanced perspective on issues of importance to the land, property and construction sectors,’ he said.
‘During the debate UK party leaders pledged further devolution of powers to the Scottish government. We call on all political parties to quickly agree on a robust devolution settlement, providing a concise and comprehensive timeline for implementation. Given the importance of property investment and development in the Scottish economy, we look forward to working with Scottish government during the transfer of powers,’ he added.