DM Hall: Post-lockdown housing market suggests an escape to the country in Scotland

rental properties

Professionals at surveyor firm DM Hall reckon more people in Scotland are exiting the cities in search of new space.

While there’s been pent-up demand in cities such as Edinburgh for a number of years now, there has– since lockdown ended on June 29 – been an increase in supply.

Andrew Milne, residential partner in the Edinburgh office of DM Hall, said: “The flood of supply stems from a number of factors: people who were ready to move in March but were prevented; people who have reflected on their lifestyles and have been emboldened by lockdown and WFH; and those who want more space than is available in cities.

“One of the idiosyncrasies of this market is the disproportionate number of households without children who are keen to move. Parents, of course, are more constrained by schooling considerations. And, unfortunately, lockdown-related relationship breakdowns mean more demand for housing.

“It is clear that having been confined to city flats for several months has loosened people’s ties to their geographical location and, especially if they have been encouraged to work from home, they are seeking a more fulfilling home environment.”

Alasdair Seaton, partner in DM Hall’s Dunfermline office, said: “The activity in the market at the moment is certainly not normal. We are seeing moves which are clearly driven by lockdown-related considerations.

“These include people needing bigger homes if they are going to be working there indefinitely; people who have missed their relatives and grandchildren and who want to be nearer to them; and a substantial movement of people from Edinburgh who want more space, a rural environment or just a bigger property for their money.

“The vast majority of sales are going to a closing date and achieving prices well in excess of their Home Report values. Many are selling without inspection, and very quickly. Again, many of the transactions involve households without children.”

Jennifer Campbell, head of rural agency at Baird Lumsden, agreed that a move to the country was under way, with people looking to establish “the good life” in good time.

She said: “Plot sales have been very popular as many people are finally undertaking their dream of building their own home. Purchasers are generally seeking rural locations on the outskirts of villages offering peace and privacy and a garden office, or the capacity to put one in. Properties with land have always remained in high demand.

“Our lettings department has also been extremely busy and we have a number of registered applicants from the rest of the UK and overseas wishing to return to Scotland to let a prime rural property to provide a suitable environment for home working.

“Purchasers are generally impatient. They want into their dream home now, trepidatious and fearful of another lockdown. The uncertainty has pushed buyers and sellers to be a bit braver and get on with it. It’s a great time to sell.”