Galbraith reported a 20% increase in sales during 2020 compared with 2019, despite the housing market being closed for several weeks in the Spring. Already this month one property on Islay has accepted an offer and a closing date has been set for a family home in Perthshire.
David Corrie, a partner with Galbraith, said that the underlying market fundamentals remain strong:
We expect a very active property market in the Spring of 2021 as many of the factors that were relevant in 2020 will be replicated this year - we will hopefully be coming out of a period of lockdown in the Spring during which many people will have reassessed their priorities. There will continue to be good demand for country homes as people are looking for a rural retreat, a larger garden and a good degree of privacy.
The ability to work from home was a major factor in many rural house purchases and good connectivity, either through broadband or via a satellite connection, has become a must.
Galbraith also found that inter-generational living was a deciding factor in many sales during 2020, with strong demand for houses offering an annexe or suitable accommodation for extended family.
The average price of property sold by Galbraith in 2020 increased by 11% year on year, with significant competition for homes in good locations. A premium of up to 30% in excess of the asking price was paid in some cases due to the extraordinary interest in rural homes in 2020.
The changes to the LBTT thresholds are a Scottish government incentive designed to boost the housing market during the pandemic, mirroring the stamp duty holiday in England.
David Corrie continued:
The LBTT thresholds will return to their previous level as of 31 March but the end of that incentive is not likely to make a significant difference to the market in Scotland as its monetary value was comparatively small, relative to the cost of a house purchase. Other factors will remain positive – for example mortgages will remain relatively easy to obtain, in all likelihood, and the historically low interest rates are set to continue in 2021, which has a major impact on transactions.
In line with Scottish Government guidance, activities in relation to moving house, including viewings, can continue during lockdown.
David Corrie said:
Our experiences of 2020, coupled with adherence to the guidance on face coverings, social distancing and contact tracing means that the property market does not stall during lockdown. We have procedures in place, including a self-certification risk assessment form which must be completed before viewings are booked. However, only those with a serious requirement and intention to move should be undertaking viewings, so we ask that only those in a position to move (sale agreed, cash buyer or mortgage arranged) view property, to minimise unnecessary movement.
Galbraith has a network of thirteen offices across Scotland and northern England, handling residential property sales worth £51.7 million per quarter. The firm also manages and sells rural estates, farms, smallholdings and land. The Galbraith rural team provides advice on 3.5 million acres of land throughout the country.
Currently on the market through Galbraith are properties including:
Moatwell House, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway. Offers over £850,000
A superb Georgian townhouse with private landscaped garden and direct access to the picturesque estuary of the River Dee in Kirkcudbright. The house offers impressive and well-appointed reception and entertaining space, along with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Moatwell House has a tranquil home office /garden room with 30MB/s+ fibre broadband and riverside views, as well as a study in the main house, making it ideal for home working.
Milton Brae, Miltonduff, Moray. Offers Over £810,000
An attractive traditional farmhouse with many original features and delightful views over open countryside. A substantial steading offers significant development potential, subject to planning permission and the property has 8.8 acres of land including a charming garden and three paddocks