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I think it is fair to say that the year 2020 will not be one that is remembered for the right reasons. From lockdowns to social distancing, 2020 was a year in which COVID-19 dominated the news headlines and changed the way we all live and work. The pandemic has affected all areas of life, and the rural property market is no exception. The effect on the rural property market has, however, been a positive one, with potential purchasers competing for the opportunity to relocate to the Scottish countryside.
With the introduction of the ‘new normal’, the appeal of a rural property is certainly clear: the isolated location, the availability of large open spaces for the benefit of those with families and pets, the abundance of fresh air, and the expansive countryside for leisurely walks in order to keep active and healthy. It is important to note that purchasers are looking at rural locations close to communities where they can access their daily essentials.
Another key factor that has contributed to the appeal of a rural property is the requirement now for many to work from home and the reality that many of us are spending less time in the workplace. Consequently, purchasers realise that their work can indeed be largely undertaken at home and there is no longer the requirement for the daily commute. Purchasers are therefore more open to the idea of living in the countryside, perhaps somewhat remoter from their workplace than previously was deemed acceptable.
We have certainly seen a great interest in smallholdings, usually up to 20 hectares, as well as rural properties more generally. Smallholdings appear to have soared in popularity and we have identified strong competition relative to those that have recently come to the market, with many resulting in closing date offers considerably above the asking price. Now that we are spending more time at home, a smallholding is the perfect way for purchasers to ‘escape to the country’ and invest their time in a potentially fruitful project or alternative lifestyle.
It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the move from towns and cities to a more rural location an attractive thought. Many purchasers have followed the thought through and relocated to the Scottish countryside, enjoying the flexibility of working from home and embracing all that rural living has to offer. With vaccinations on the horizon, it will be interesting to see whether this trend continues in the months and years to come.
If you need any advice about purchasing rural property, please get in touch with the Blackadders Rural Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, and across Scotland.
Blythe Petrie, Trainee Solicitor
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