A Yes vote in tomorrow’s Scottish referendum would create over a year on uncertainty in the housing market - but a No vote would still leave people unsure how the Scottish economy may change as a result of additional devolution.
That is the view of LSL Property Services, which says over half of Scotland’s property prices fell in July leaving the country still on average some 0.6 per cent below the 2008 peak, with transactions still 30 per cent lower than six years ago.
The new figures are not all bad news. There were 9,285 transactions in July, climbing five per cent from June to reach the highest monthly total since July 2008. And in two particular areas prices reached new high - major employment centres Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh.
But on the other side of the coin, uncertainty is leaving its trace according to Gordon Fowlis of Your Move, one of LSL’s agency brands.
“Depending on the outcome of the referendum, there is a chance of a mass take-off and sale of investments, which would disrupt house prices in the short-term. Ambiguity surrounding Scotland’s future isn’t helping. We are in the throes of the longest period of sustained monthly house price growth since February 2007, but only time will tell whether this recovery will be derailed” says Fowlis.
“A Yes vote would usher in a further sixteen months of uncertainty. A Scotland outside the UK would open the floodgates to the real questions of currency, exchange rates, mortgage risk, and property taxation. Many mortgage holders could see their LTV shoot up as the implications of borrowing from a bank in a foreign country are unmasked. A No vote doesn’t guarantee clarity either – but the mist of ambiguity would clear sooner” he says.
- LSL Property Services
In a coup for Strutt & Parker and small Devon agency Michelmore Hughes, the much-publicised Bantham Estate has been sold in accordance with the wishes of its owners and, unusually, its existing residents.
The estate won substantial publicity in the spring because residents in the 21 homes on the estate - along with conservation and other groups - wanted the entire estate to remain as one. This includes the residential element, 716 acres, two main boat houses, a harbour and an 18-hole golf course, on sale for OIEO £11.5m.
Together they are considered to be one of the most uniquely diverse and unspoilt villages in the UK. But it was feared that there may be no single buyer willing to take on the entire offer, and to manage it as now.
However, the two agents have secured a deal with Nicholas Johnston who already owns the Great Tew Estate in Oxfordshire.
Johnston’s statement says:“I am delighted to have agreed and concluded the purchase of the beautiful Bantham Estate in Devon. I would hope that our existing Estate at Great Tew in Oxfordshire and the long term, coherent and considerate management of this equally beautiful village, farmland and landscape would reassure those genuinely concerned about the future of Bantham. We look forward to bringing another long period of family ownership to this unique estate.”
- strutt & Parker
- Michelmore Hughes
The franchise firm which calls itself the world’s largest residential estate agency has opened its fifth UK office in one month, in the London borough of Islington.
As is usually the case with Century 21, it will be operated by an existing local agent - in this case Hannah Little - but taking up the full branding of the franchise.
“We were drawn to Century 21 for many reasons. Firstly, it is a major international brand, secondly those international links provide a range of property opportunities for clients, and also the major investment and commitment from Shepherd Direct” says Little.
Century 21 began in the US and claims to be the world’s largest residential agency with some 7,000 franchise offices and over 100,000 agents in 77 countries. It is part of a group including the well-known US realtor brand Coldwell Banker, and Sotheby’s International Realty, which has a UK office in Mayfair.
Some 18 months ago Shepherd Direct acquired the licence to operate the Century 21 sales and lettings brand across the UK and Channel Islands; its headquarters are in Scotland and central support services for franchisees are based in Nottingham.
- Century 21
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