The Government should act now if it wants to safeguard the affordability of property for key workers, according to one of Edinburgh’s leading property solicitors.
Responding to the latest research by the Bank of Scotland – which claimed key workers such as teachers and police officers could now afford to buy in 39% of Scottish towns – Warners said that it was likely that prices could become less affordable once the Scottish property market recovers.
The firm added that the Scottish Government should be considering ways to address affordability issues for key workers now, as it could be too late to do so when property prices start to rise in the future.
Scott Brown, Estate Agency Partner with Warners, said: “Housing is becoming more affordable for everyone, as prices have fallen over the past 18 months or so. However, it is important for the wellbeing of our communities that those in essential services can afford to live near their work if they wish to.
“We don’t want to get to the stage where nurses, teachers, police, firemen, and other key workers can’t live near their work as, if they are having to commute too far, they’d potentially look for alternative professions closer to where they could afford to live.
“Additionally, we don’t want key workers to be exhausted at work as that can affect performance – so the need for them to live as close to their work as they wish is vital. These things unfortunately often only come to a head when there’s a local or national emergency.
“Hopefully prices will remain more affordable for key workers and, if prices do become less affordable, the Government will put in place appropriate schemes to assist them.
“The recent Lloyds TSB house price monitor showed that last month, for the first time in over a year, house prices actually rose – and these statistic sit beside the fact that sales volumes at many property solicitors have risen over the past eight weeks. If this is a sign that property is likely to become less affordable in the future, then Government should be looking to address this.”