What About The Scottish Property Market?

It’s  been a couple of days since the announcement that the property market in England could begin to resume activities since the whole of the UK went into lockdown on 23rd March.

However, the announcement that came out at the beginning of the week, only encompassed the English property market, as the devolved powers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decided to take a completely different course to their English counterparts.

In Scotland, naturally since the lockdown was announced the property market there has slowed and eventually stopped, coinciding with the Scottish Government’s guidance to temporarily halt home moves whilst the “stay at home” message was taking hold.

At the end of March, the Registers of Scotland had to close their applications, resulting in conveyancers being told by the Law Society in Scotland to not to complete transactions until Registers of Scotland informed them that they had re-opened applications. Although interim measures were put in place to help those who had already begun the conveyancing process. Further issues began to arrise.

As with the market in England, the lockdown didn’t dampen people’s spirits when it came to viewing properties. ESPC, a property company based in Edinburgh revealed that buyers were registering their interest on properties with agents, and some were even putting offers in on homes they hadn’t viewed relying solely on the images provided by the agent, and virtual tours – if available.

Agents in the country have revealed that they have properties waiting to go onto the market when the lockdown eases in Scotland, and interest for properties has remained healthy.

Paul Hilton, chief executive of ESPC, said:

“The Scottish property market has been impacted significantly due to the social distancing measures put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Property sales volume and the number of listings are notably down compared to the previous year, due to government guidance.”

He added:

“However, reports from our agents suggest that demand to buy and sell property remains. Innovative features such as virtual viewings and valuations allow people to make a start on their buying and selling journey at this time if they choose to.”

He concluded:

“We expect there to be a healthy supply of buyers and sellers in the market when the current restrictions are lifted, which should help to foster a swift and stable recovery.”

These positive signs of homes awaiting to go on the market, and an appetite for buying and selling homes – after spending so much time in them – is similar to what is believed to be currently happening in the English market today.

In England, there seemed to be a surge on the property market as restrictions were lifted. Rightmove, released data revealing that visits to their portal between 7am-8am were up by 45% compared to the same time 24 hours earlier.

Emails sent to agents from the portal rose by 70%, and within the first 6 business hours of the property market opening, 2,115 properties had been added to portals to entice buyers.

Miles Shipside, commercial director at Rightmove said:

“These are clear signs that the news from the government has prompted more home-hunters to start looking for their next home, and we anticipate further uplift in activity once agents have time to adjust to the new social distancing guidance specific to the home moving sector. Home movers who have been eagerly waiting to take their home moving plans to the next stage should show some patience with agents given the unexpected announcement, to ensure there’s time to adapt to the new guidelines and ensure everyone is kept safe.”

Hopefully over the coming weeks the English property market will continue to grow healthily and provide an indication for those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about how the property market could heat up and help to kickstart their economies.


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