In March 2020, when the country went into lockdown, we all thought it would be a temporary measure lasting a few short weeks, and the country would be up and running in no time at all. Yet, here we are, almost a year on and we still find ourselves in a lockdown situation. The effects are still having a mostly positive impact on the property market, which has proved to be incredibly resilient and has seen a flurry of activity since its reopening on 29th June 2020. There are economic and practical factors contributing to the market’s current status, such as:
- The Scottish Government announced measures to help support the Scottish property market. The first announcement was an increase in the threshold in relation to the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. The tax does not apply to any purchases of property valued at £250,000 or less and this is in place until 31 March 2021. The threshold was previously set at £145,000. It will be interesting to see if the Government extends this to encourage buyers and boost the property market further.
- The Government further announced the injection of £50 million into the First Home Fund. The shared equity scheme loans first time buyers up to £25,000, to help them purchase a property giving first-time buyers the opportunity to step onto the property ladder. The scheme proved so popular, it closed for new applications in October last year but will re-open this year so buyers should keep a close eye out for opening dates.
- Working from home has quickly become the new norm. Some employers/employees are opting for this resulting in individuals recognising the need for extra room to use as an office space. Remote/home working has also made relocating easier as individuals are not tied to living within a certain distance of their workplace.
- Being locked in with a short one hour of exercise per day during lockdown has had an impact on individuals re-evaluating their lives and reassessing their living space and surroundings. The absence of having an outdoor space has increased the numbers looking to purchase a property with a garden, balcony, or the like.
As some of the points noted above are not long-term changes, the property market may not continue at the rates of high activity we have experienced, but they certainly look likely to continue into the first quarter of 2021 despite the announcement of a new lockdown earlier this week.
For help and advice on property matters please speak to a member of the Blackadders Property Team.
Cherrisse Sorrie, Solicitor
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