Scotland’s newest estate agency, Edinburgh-based Blackie Ballantyne, has welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to scrap stamp duty on homes below the £250,000 price mark for the next two years.
“It is good news for first-time buyers who have been struggling to enter the market due to the requirement of larger deposits and arrangement costs of mortgages,” said co-director, Cameron Blackie, who launched the company with Rory Ballantyne in January this year.
“First-time buyers are one of the main drivers of the property market. Their entry into the market acts as the catalyst to support sales throughout the wider market.
“This stimulates the market from top to bottom so this Budget decision is encouraging and very welcome.
“It can only be hoped that lenders, too, will increase the availability of mortgages because if they don’t, then there’s a risk that even with a stamp duty holiday, first time buyers will remain excluded and the intended effect will fail to materialise.
“The good news for the lower end of the market has been tempered by an increase of 1 per cent on properties over £1 million from April next year.
“While the numbers that fall into this bracket in Scotland is small, it is growing.
“Whether this increase will be implemented may depend on the result of the general election.
“In the short term, we may even see an increase in the number of properties coming to the market to attract buyers before the new rate becomes effective.
“We do not believe that this will significantly affect the market, although for some properties that would be priced close to the threshold there may be pressure to make sure that they are priced just under to avoid the increased rate.”
Blackie Ballantyne is predicting a positive year for the housing market and is expecting to sell over 400 properties in its first year.