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Borders Property Market Holds Steady

The Scottish Borders is enjoying sustained demand for property, with continued buyer activity and an increasing number of house sales going to a closing date.

The firm's offices in Kelso and Galashiels have recorded an increase in viewings of 20% for the quarter ending 30 September 2017, compared with the same period last year. There has also been an increase of 33% in new buyers registering with the firm in the Borders, compared with the previous quarter. Alex Inglis, head of residential sales for Galbraith at its Kelso office, said:

This quarter has been busy with an increasing number of properties receiving several competing offers and going to a closing date.

We are seeing continued strong demand for detached country cottages. In addition, houses priced between 200,000 and 300,000 are generally selling well and in areas close to Kelso there is sustained demand for properties up to 400,000, particularly family homes. The Scottish Borders is a beautiful part of Scotland and its towns and villages are very desirable places to live. Now that the Borders Railway has been reinstated the region is more accessible too.

In many sales the conclusion of missives (when the sale becomes legally binding on both the seller and the buyer) is taking longer to achieve. It is therefore important to use a good traditional estate agent like Galbraith who will keep in touch with their client's solicitors to help things along where possible. Until missives are concluded both the seller and the buyer face uncertainty that the sale/purchase will be completed.

The Galbraith lettings department in the Scottish Borders also enjoyed a successful quarter. Susan Watson, lettings manager for the Scottish Borders said:

We arranged 154 viewings this quarter. Properties which come on to our books are usually let very quickly with the average time taken to find a tenant being just nine days. In many cases, we can secure a tenant before we even begin marketing the property because we have a database of potential tenants seeking a home and can match their requirements with the properties about to become available. The most sought-after areas are Melrose, Peeblesshire and Galashiels and this quarter we have seen an increase in demand for high-end, traditional four to five-bedroom properties.

We've also found that social media is an increasingly important tool to communicate with potential tenants. Where we mention a property will be available to let soon we will often secure viewings which lead directly to a successful let.

The Scottish Government will introduce its new code of practice and mandatory register for letting agents from 31 January 2018 to improve standards within the sector. Key individuals within a lettings agency must meet a minimum level of training and have the adequate qualifications by September 2018, otherwise they will not be able to continue letting properties. It is therefore advisable to choose a lettings agency that fully complies with the new legislation before it comes into force at the start of next year. 

Galbraith already has agents qualified to the highest level and Susan Watson in the Galashiels office has already completed her lettings compliance training.