Scotland needs stand-alone buyers to stimulate the property market

by Scott Douglas

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

A select group of cherised househunters has emerged as the prized individuals to help kickstart Scotland’s challenging property market.

Groups of “stand-alone purchasers” – who have adequate funds to buy a property, but do not have another home of their own to sell – have being highlighted as the key to re-invigorating activity, according to one of Scotland’s leading estate agents.

Scott Brown, Estate Agency Partner with Warners, believes that stand-alone purchasers are in the ideal position to take advantage of the favourable buying conditions currently being experienced across Scotland, which in turn could help spur transactions further up the property ladder.

Although property markets are remaining steady and house prices continuing to rise in some areas across Scotland, Scott says that the effects of the credit crunch and a lack of confidence has seen buyer activity drop significantly.

But, as there is less competition for properties and sellers are more willing to negotiate over price, the conditions have created an ideal time for stand-alone purchasers to strike.

He said: “While all clients in this tough market are valued, stand-alone purchasers are one of the major triggers that can help increase sales and lead the market to recovery.

“These days it’s taking longer to sell properties, as demand has dropped and partly because sellers are not being realistic about the prices they want to achieve. Added to that, many people won’t even think about making an offer for a property unless they have either sold, or are in the process of selling, their current homes. 

“That’s why the stand-alone buyers is particularly prized as they can come in completely fresh, they don’t have any other outstanding property sales hanging over them and they can buy quickly.

“Potentially, they are a massive resource that could be vital to sustaining property prices and avoiding a housing slump.”

Scott adds that, as there is currently less competition in the market, stand-alone buyers will find it easier to secure a property and are likely to get it for a better price than they would have done six months ago. Many buyers are also likely to find that they can afford bigger properties in areas that would have previously been outwith their budgets.

However, he adds that when the market recovers and becomes more competitive, buyers will find that they may have to settle for a property that is second best to the one they really want – meaning they should be looking to take advantage now.

Scott adds: “First-time buyers with sufficient deposits in place to secure their first home should be looking to buy, as should groups such as divorcees or marital break-ups and people who have already sold but have rented for the past year.

“There are also a lot of property investors out there who should be thinking about new purchases, as the potential rental yields are very attractive due to the high demand for rented property. If they take advantage of the current buyers market conditions, it could also help to strengthen our housing market.

“All it takes is for a few of these people to start buying properties for it to kick-starts activity further up the chain – as the people they buy their properties from can then buy a new home of their own, which will enable the next person to do the same, and so on.

Warners, who have four property shops in Edinburgh and Lothians, has been the leading property solicitor in terms of property listings, property sales and total sales value in the ESPC for the past nine years.

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