Property sales up over 20% month on month due to property tax change

Taylor Scott International News

Property sales in Scotland increased by 21% month on month to record the strongest March for homes sales in eight years, the latest index figures show. The rise was partly due to buy to let landlords rushing to beat the extra 3% property tax imposed on additional homes at the beginning of April, according to the index report from Your Move. The data also shows that Midlothian recorded record high house prices and the fastest increase in sales, rising 48% in the first quarter of 2016 year on year while overall property values were up 0.8% month on month in March, the quickest rise since August 2015. However year on year property prices in Scotland are down 9.7% year on year, taking the average house price to £169,379. Christine Campbell, Your Move managing director in Scotland, pointed out that sales in Scotland were not as high as elsewhere in the UK where transactions soared by 60% month on month in March. She said that the more modest increase in Scotland may have been due to John Swinney announcing the property tax changes a month later than George Osborne, so many second home buyers may not have had time to plan their investments. But Scottish sales for the first quarter of this year are still well above the same period in 2015, up 18% year on year and Campbell explained that the construction of new homes in Midlothian has enabled the area to become the only place in Scotland where house prices stand at a record high in March. She also pointed out that while house price growth is down year on year, it’s important to remember that this was due to the huge spike in house prices back in March 2015, following a rush of sales brought forward to avoid the introduction of the LBTT. ‘But with buy to let landlords opting to buy flats and other more affordable properties, this hasn’t translated into too much price turbulence. House prices have generally risen by between 0.01 and 0.8% each month since July 2015, which suggests the current spurt is healthy and sustainable,’ said Campbell. She also pointed out that an uplift in million pound home sales has propelled East Renfrewshire up the rankings in March, with house prices in the area increasing faster than anywhere else in Scotland, up 8.1% month on month. These additional high end home sales mean the area now also has the highest average property value of any area at £257,529. Taylor Scott International

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