scotland property house prices

Scotland's Property Market in 2021

How has COVID-19 impacted the Scottish Property Market in 2021?

For the first time in modern history, both UK and Scottish house prices have risen during a recession. While Scotland continues to navigate its way out of lockdown, we explore what impact COVID-19 has had on the Scottish property market, particularly for Ayrshire, Glasgow and the West, and the predictions for the months ahead.

Scotland’s Solicitors Quickly Adapt to Facilitate Consumer Demand

When restrictions were put into play at the end of March 2020, homeowners, agents, and solicitors were faced with unprecedented changes to the standard conveyancing regime.

Social distancing measures were quickly introduced, the Scottish Government advised that all house moves be delayed, and not long after, in-person property viewings and valuations were no longer allowed. Nevertheless, after two weeks of lockdown, the housing market introduced virtual viewings and arrangements to facilitate on-going buyer interest, with the intention of completing property transactions when rules allowed.

Restrictions also meant homes could not be surveyed, and as most properties in Scotland require a Home Report before brought to market, there was a significant decline in volume of new property listings during the first month of lockdown throughout Scotland.

Scottish House Prices Rise: Ayrshire see the biggest increase in the country

So, as with most industries in March 2020, the future of the property market was unknown. However, buyer and seller interest remained not only prominent, but increased. After properties were brought to market, official figures by HM Land Registry found that the average house price in Scotland increased by 8.4% over the year, with transactions rising by nearly a third.  The graph below accurately depicts the surge in Scotland against pre-pandemic years:

Most notably, all three council areas in Ayrshire witnessed the largest mainland increase. North Ayrshire was up by 11.7%, South Ayrshire 13.9%, and East Ayrshire being up the most by 17.9%. Renfrewshire also saw an increase of more than 10%.

price difference of house prices in scotland

Click here for more information on other local authorities. 

What has caused the rise in prices?

Industry leaders believe that lockdowns have led to people seeking more space, with the number of ‘sales agreed’ in the last quarters of 2020 being 36% higher than the same period in 2019.

Paul Hilton, CEO of ESPC, said: “The first three months of 2021 has seen a real spike in property sales compared to the previous year. This is to be expected given how busy the market was at the end of 2020, but the LBTT holiday coming to an end in March may also have contributed to increased sales.”

To aid the financial struggles of COVID-19, the Scottish Government introduced an increased nil threshold on LBTT which was raised to £250,000 for buyers in July 2020. However, the LBTT holiday ended as of 1st of April 2021 in Scotland. As well as this, the Scottish Government provided relief by introducing the three-month mortgage payment holiday for homeowners in March and extending emergency law eviction notice period to protect renters.

Between homeowners looking to upsize, LBTT relief and solicitors and agent’s ability to deliver service remotely, the number of people looking to buy or sell during the pandemic outweighed any negative impact from the pandemic on the property market.

What’s Ahead for House Sales in Scotland?

Industry leaders, such as Savills and ESPC, predict a strong property market in the coming months, as the country sees restrictions ease and we work towards an anticipated new normal. The average Scottish house price is expected to grow further by 3% in 2021, with the overall property market growing more than 22.8% between 2021 and 2025.

What Does This Mean for Homeowners?

In the first instance, we highly advise you speak to a solicitor to get an accurate understanding of the market and your local authority. If you are in Ayrshire, Prestwick, or Glasgow, you can get in touch with us here.

As the property market has soared and is set to continue for the rest of the year, particularly in Ayrshire, 2021 could be assumed a profitable year to relocate.

The image below gives an overview of the most frequent property transactions this year in North Ayrshire:

What Does This Mean for Private Landlords?

For the Scottish Rental Market, surveyors across both Glasgow and Edinburgh found that there has been an increase in flat availability on the market, due to private landlords deciding to sell. John Brown, rental agent of Edinburgh, believes this is due to the “Covid effect”, such as landlords wishing to reduce their portfolios and void periods between tenancies. As well as that, there are added costs of new Energy Performance legislation for landlords.

For the privately rented sector (if you own and lease your own property to tenants), energy efficiency standards have already been introduced. Since October 1st, 2020, any new tenancy is now required to have an EPC of at least band E and by the 31st of March 2025, all properties will require to have at least EPC band D.

Overall, despite initial concern for the property market, most authorities in Scotland have seen an increase in the number of house sales and prices, which is set to continue for 2021.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!

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Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in 2021

Everything homeowners in Scotland should know about Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in 2021

Whether you are looking for your next home, to purchase additional properties, or you are a first-time buyer, there are financial factors to consider beyond the property price. In this case, you may be charged Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) when purchasing a new property.

If you are buying a home in Scotland before the 31st of March 2021, you may pay a reduced rate of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) due to COVID relief. However, as of the 1st of April 2021, Scotland will end the LBTT holiday of reduced rates and the standard rates of LBTT will return as normal.

What is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)?

The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) is a tax applied to residential and non-residential land and buildings transactions including any commercial leases and is administered by Revenue Scotland. Known as Stamp Duty in England, LBTT replaced UK Stamp Duty Land Tax in Scotland on the 1st of April 2015, following the passage of the Scotland Act 2012 and the subsequent Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013.

Simply put, the amount of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax you may pay, depends on the price of the property, or land, that you are buying. The amount of tax is payable at different rates on each portion of the purchase price within specified tax band.

How Much is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax?

There are different thresholds for LBTT to determine how much you may pay. Importantly, the tax you pay is calculated on the percentage of the property that falls above the threshold and it is a one-off payment that must be made no later than five working days of the ‘Payment Date,’ also known as the ‘Effective Date.’

For example, if you purchase a property for £180,000, you will be charged LBTT as follows*:

0% on the first £145,000 = £0

2% on the amount above the threshold, which is £35,000 = £700

Total LBTT amount to pay: £700

*Different criteria are set for first-time buyers and multiple property owners, please see following sections.

The Scottish Budget 2021-2022 confirmed that the ceiling of the nil rate band for residential LBTT will return, as planned, to £145,000 for transactions as of the 1st of April 2021. Therefore, the table below outlines the criteria as of April 1st, 2021:

How does LBTT apply to First Time Buyers?

If you are a first-time buyer, there is a relief available which increases the current residential purchase price from £145,000 to £175,000. This means that you will be charged 0% LBTT for any property up to £175,000. Additionally, if the property price is above £175,000, there is a reduction in tax of up to £600 available for first-time buyers, the criteria is as follows:

More information including first-time buyer FAQs is available on the Revenue Scotland website.

How does LBTT apply to people who want to buy a second home?

Buyers of additional residential properties, such as a second home, are charged 4% of the total purchase price of any dwelling over £40,000 or more. This is known as the Additional Dwelling Supplement, which was introduced on the 1st of April 2016 in attempt to protect opportunities for first-time buyers.

For example, if you purchase a second dwelling for £100,000, you will be charged LBTT as follows:

4% of £100,000 = £4000

Total LBTT due = £4000

For further information and examples of Additional Dwelling Supplement by Revenue Scotland, click here.

Am I charged LBTT on the total purchase price, or the asking price of a property?

LBTT is calculated by using the total purchase price. This means that if your offering price is higher than the asking price, you will be taxed on the higher amount if it falls above the threshold, as this is the actual purchase price. This is important to note when using online LBTT calculating tools, remember to put in the amount you are offering to achieve an accurate estimate.

When is LBTT not payable?

There are some circumstances whereby property buyers are exempt from paying LBTT. For example, if you inherit land or property under the terms of a will, you do not need to inform Revenue Scotland nor will you need to pay Land and Building’s Transaction Tax. The same applies if you receive property as gift, ensuring that there is no outstanding mortgage on it.

How can I find out the LBTT of a property?

To find out how much LBTT you could be liable to pay, there are several calculators available online:

 

Click here to use Money Advice Service’ LBTT calculator.

 

Click here to use Revenue Scotland’s LBTT calculator.

How can I pay LBTT?

In most cases, your solicitor will handle any Land and Buildings Transaction Tax due to be paid to Revenue Scotland by submitting the return on your behalf. However, as the property buyer, you are solely responsible to ensure it is submitted and on time (within 5 working days of the ‘Effective Date’). Please note you must still submit a return even if you fall below the threshold and are not due to pay LBTT.

To find out how to submit a return, click here.

So, if you are planning to join (or climb!) the property ladder, it is important to be aware of how LBTT could affect you financially. At Frazer Coogans, we will make sure you know this, and deal with the LBTT return on your behalf. If you have any further questions about LBTT, or are looking for a property solicitor, get in touch with us.

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The Importance of an Energy Performance Certificate

How important is your Energy Performance Certificate when buying or selling property?

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Introduced in 2002 by the European Union, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), also known as an Energy Efficiency Rating, is an instrument of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive that calculates the energy performance of a property from A (Most Efficient) to G (Least Efficient) and is valid for ten years.

Becoming effective in Scotland from December 2008, all properties are legally required to have a valid EPC at the time of construction or conveyancing, and it must be made known to any potential buyer of a property in the Home Report. Similarly, all landlords must order an Energy Performance Certificate for potential tenants before marketing their properties to let.

In Scotland, you are legally required to display the EPC somewhere in the property – most people usually find it in their meter cupboard or next to the boiler.

So, why is it important?

From a consumer perspective, firstly, it is a legal obligation to obtain and display your EPC, and as such, property owners can face penalties for lack thereof.

Secondly, if you are looking to buy or lease, the EPC will provide information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, giving you an accurate estimate of potential bills. Likewise, if you are looking to sell, it can either decrease or increase the value of your property. For example, property with a relatively high energy performance level (A-C), will usually have a higher market price than that of a weaker performing residence as more money has been invested into the energy development and performance.

Although there are initial costs, implementing effective energy-saving strategies such as solar energy, double glazing, insulation and renewable electricity can increase both your EPC rating and property value. Included in the EPC is a recommendation report that should provide information to help reduce the running cost of the property even further. To find out how you can reduce costs and save money with your bills, click here.

Additionally, from a Government perspective, it allows professionals to assess the country’s overall energy ratings per city, council and property type in accordance with the energy efficiency standards. This enables leaders to gain a sound understanding of the areas in need of energy improvements and set accurate and realistic energy-saving objectives for the country.

Overall, as a consumer, it’s important to understand the value and significance of a property’s EPC when selling or buying property. In a world where leaders are accelerating renewable energy plans and strategies, the future value of your home will be impacted, should you ever decide to sell.

What if I have a low Energy Performance Rating?

Currently in Scotland, there is no legal duty for homeowners to have a specific performance rating. However, the Scottish Government are continually working towards improved energy efficiency for the country and have set long-term domestic objectives for all sectors. By 2040, Scotland aim to have all residential properties to have achieved an EPC rating of at least C (69-80 on scale of 0-100).

For the privately rented sector (if you own and lease your own property to tenants), energy efficiency standards have already been introduced. Since October 1st, 2020, any new tenancy is now required to have an EPC of at least band E and by the 31st March 2025, all properties will require to have at least EPC band D.

So, although most homeowners don’t need to worry about their EPC score just yet, it’s important to be aware of what’s coming. Besides, it’s not the worst thing to invest your time and money into. You’ll improve your property performance and be contributing to the global fight against climate change.

How do I find out my Energy Performance Rating?

If you don’t have an EPC located in the house, you should be able to source it online. Otherwise, when selling your home, you would obtain a Home Report which should contain the EPC and any recommendations for improvement.

For properties sold or let after the 4th of January 2009, your property should already have an EPC. You can find it out by following this link and entering your postcode.

If you can’t find it there, you can have an Energy Performance Assessor visit your home and provide one after assessment. Please note this service may be restricted due to COVID-19.

Now go on, go check the boiler. You know you want to…

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Expansion with Lamonts Solicitors

Delighted to announce expansion with Lamonts Solicitors

Leading Ayr based law firm Frazer Coogans Solicitors are delighted to announce that they have further expanded in Ayr with the acquisition of the assets of the firm of Lamonts Solicitors, 16 Miller Road, Ayr.

Mark Meehan and Eileen Lamont have run Lamonts Solicitors for over 34 years, establishing an enviable reputation for service. Mark Meehan will now take retirement and Eileen Lamont will stay on with Frazer Coogans as a part time consultant. The staff of Lamonts solicitors transferred over to Frazer Coogans on 1st November 2019 and Frazer Coogans will trade from 16 Miller Road, Ayr as well as their principal office at Dalblair House, 46 Dalblair Road, Ayr and other offices.

Frazer Coogans Solicitors was originally established in Ayr in 1985. In 1995 the current Senior Director, Norman Geddes, took over the firm. From a small beginning Norman has led Frazer Coogans into rapid expansion to be one of the leading firms in the West of Scotland. In May 2015, Frazer Coogans opened their Prestwick branch, acquiring the former firm of Lawson Russell Solicitors. In 2018 Frazer Coogans expanded to have an office in Glasgow.

Norman Geddes, Senior Director of Frazer Coogans commented “I wish Mark a long and happy retirement and assure him that Frazer Coogans will continue to provide the excellent service which Lamonts have provided to their clients over the past 34 years . We welcome the new staff members to our busy team and look forward to this new chapter”.

With 11 Solicitors and a total of over 40 employees, Frazer Coogans prides itself in providing a comprehensive legal service at a competitive cost. It looks forward to also providing a first class service to all of the clients who transfer from Lamonts.

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Farm Land

Record year for farm, land and residential transactions

Record Year

With more than three months still to go, leading Ayrshire law firm Frazer Coogans Solicitors reports that it has already achieved a record year for farm, land and residential transactions.

So far in 2014, Frazer Coogans has been involved in Farm and Land transactions with a value of over £30 million, as well as advising on numerous Partnership issues, Wills, Estates and Tax Planning.

The firm has marked the passing of this milestone with a new advertisement in The Scottish Farmer.

Frazer Coogans Commercial supports a large number of farming clients throughout Scotland. They provide a prompt and cost-effective service in relation to all aspects of agricultural and country property including sale, purchase and leasing of farm and farmland, wind turbine development and agreements, access and water issues, partnerships and family business re-arrangement including Wills, Trusts, Tax Advice and Partnership Agreements.

Senior Director Norman Geddes has been in practice since 1976. His principal areas of expertise are in property conveyancing work with a particular interest in commercial and agricultural property and property development and property investment. He has extensive knowledge of the property market and a keen interest in farms and country property.

Peter McNamara is a director in the Commercial Property Department. He has extensive experience in all aspects of Commercial Property including Development Land, Investment Property, Farms and Country Properties and Caravan and Leisure Parks.

He is also a Chartered Tax Adviser, advising on Tax Planning and is an associate of the Association of Taxation Technicians and a qualified member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Norman Geddes commented: “The West Coast market in 2014 has proven so far to be buoyant and prosperous for Scotland. Our busy Commercial team has been involved with farming and land transactions exceeding the value of £30 million since the start of the year. This shows great strength and positivity in the current market.

“Similarly, our residential conveyancing team has also experienced record conveyancing transactions in 2014. The market is vibrant and strong in Ayrshire and appears to be back on track.”

Frazer Coogans Solicitors is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, of which Norman Geddes is the Executive Chairman.

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Legal Services

Frazer Coogans Solicitors opens in Prestwick

Frazer Coogans Prestwick

Leading Ayr based law firm Frazer Coogans Solicitors are delighted to announce that they have expanded into Prestwick and have taken over the former practice of Lawson Russell Solicitors of 163 Main Street, Prestwick.

Donald Russell and Iain Lawson have run Lawson Russell for over 30 years in the heart of Prestwick and are well established and respected in the local community.

Norman Geddes, Senior Director for Frazer Coogans commented “I wish Donald and Iain all the best in their retirement and assure them that Frazer Coogans will continue to provide the excellent service which Donald and Iain have provided to their clients and the Prestwick community over the last 30 years. We welcome the new staff members and look forward to this new chapter”.

“This is an exciting time for Frazer Coogans Solicitors, and we are all looking forward to even more progress and development in the years to come.”

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Farms & Country Property

Be prepared for property law changes

Scottish Farmer Press Release

Recent major changes in the Scottish Land Register System together with commencement of the new Land and Buildings Transfer Tax from 1st April make it more essential than ever for buyers and sellers of property to seek advice from an experienced property solicitor. With six solicitors and experienced support staff working daily in all aspects of the property sector, Frazer Coogans are well placed to handle any transaction. Norman Geddes and Peter McNamara bring expertise to the Agricultural and Commercial Property sectors. Carly Brodie and Jacqueline Malcolm specialise in Residential Conveyancing. Working together with drive and initiative they have helped place Frazer Coogans in the forefront of property conveyancing in Scotland. Recent figures issued by the Land Register of Scotland confirm Frazer Coogans to be the leading firm of solicitors in South West Scotland by number of properties registered last year.

Frazer Coogans regularly deal with sale and purchase of farm and country properties of all types, commercial property including leases, and residential conveyancing. In the agricultural sector they regularly deal with tenancy issues, wind turbine and other agreements and are frequently asked to advise on issues arising in farm partnerships. They are happy to provide an initial discussion without commitment or charge and regularly make farm visits.

Frazer Coogans’ Chairman, Norman Geddes said “With a highly experienced and dedicated property team we enjoy providing advice to farmers, land owners and house purchasers. Tax advice is nearly always relevant to a property transaction and with Peter McNamara also being a Chartered Tax Adviser and a certified Trust and Estate Practitioner we are uniquely placed to combine property, succession and taxation advice.”

Preserve your property and make it grow. Ensure that you have the best advice in all aspects of your business and family life.

At Frazer Coogans we pride ourselves in providing personal professional advice to all of our farming clients. Norman Geddes has a lifetime’s experience of advising on all aspects of farm and country property. As well as being an experienced Agricultural Solicitor, Peter McNamara is a Chartered Tax Adviser. With their capable team they regularly advise on the matters detailed below.

Forthcoming changes in the law make it even more important to take professional legal advice at an early stage before any property transaction. We are always happy to have a free initial meeting on any legal issue and welcome your call.

• PURCHASE & SALE OF FARMS & LAND

• DEVELOPMENT LAND – OPTION AGREEMENT

• HOUSE PURCHASE & SALE

• PARTNERSHIP CHANGES & DISPUTES

• WIND TURBINE & RENEWABLES AGREEMENTS

• ACCESS AGREEMENTS

• WILLS & LIVING WILLS

• SUCCESSION & INHERITANCE TAX PLANNING – PRESERVING ASSETS

• EXECUTRIES & TRUSTS

• POWERS OF ATTORNEY

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Accident Claims

Protecting your land on Scotland's land register

Registers of Scotland

Scotland is moving to a single system of land and property registration, with work underway to complete the Land Register of Scotland. Landowners can protect their property by moving to the digital, map-based land register.

If you own land or property in Scotland, your ownership is recorded on one of two public registers – the 400-year-old General Register of Sasines, or the modern Land Register of Scotland. While the older register relies on verbal descriptions, the land register records precise boundaries on an online digital map.

The land register is replacing the sasine register. Once complete, it will provide a full picture of exactly who owns what, and reduce the cost of buying and selling property.

Scottish ministers have asked Registers of Scotland, the non-ministerial government department responsible for land and property registration, to complete the land register by 2024.

Voluntary registration

Registers of Scotland is encouraging owners to voluntarily move their property to the land register, and is offering a 25 per cent discount on its fees for voluntary registration. It has also set up a team of expert advisors to guide owners through the voluntary registration process.

Moving to the land register makes future property transactions easier, faster and cheaper. It clarifies exact boundaries, allowing owners to iron out any uncertainties between neighbouring properties. It simplifies estate management and succession planning, and provides greater certainty and security. And titles on the land register include a state-backed warranty, protecting against claims of adverse possession.

In addition to voluntary registration, property titles are being moved to the land register when properties are sold, and when owners remortgage or take on additional borrowing with a new lender. The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland is also using new powers introduced as part of the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 to register properties without an application from the owner. This ‘keeper-induced registration’ will initially only be used in urban, residential areas like housing estates, where Registers of Scotland already has a lot of information about property titles.

For larger landholdings, including farms, we believe that voluntary registration is the best option as it allows owners to use their expert knowledge of their own property to register exactly what they own.

The drive to complete the land register will bring greater transparency, clarity and security of ownership, benefitting both landowners and Scotland as a whole.

More information

Find out what the next steps are for you. Contact Registers of Scotland’s voluntary registration advisors on LRCompletion@ros.gov.uk or visit www.ros.gov.uk/lrc.

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