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Prime country house prices in Scotland increased by 0.2% between April and June taking annual growth to 1.4%, the latest index analysis report shows. But this is down from the recent high of 2.8% in June last year and the recently introduced Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) seems to have had the greatest bearing on market performance. The analysis report from Knight Frank also suggests that the recent landslide SNP general election victory in Scotland on 07 May has had an impact, albeit a more modest one. Under LBTT those buying homes worth less than £333,000 now pay less tax for homes, but those purchasing property with a value above this threshold now pay more in purchase taxes. For example, a house in Scotland valued at £1.5 million would have attracted a stamp duty liability of £43,750 under the old system. Based on the new LBTT rates, that same property now attracts a bill of £78,350, a near 80% increase. As a result, buyers and vendors brought forward prime transactions prior to the introduction of LBTT in order to benefit from the lower stamp duty charges. There was a spike in activity during the first three months of 2015 with the number of sales completed by Knight Frank nearly 50% higher year on year. Since then, however, the prime market has been subdued, with the number of sales completed between April and June notably lower than the same period of 2014. There is likely to be an ongoing period of adjustment at the top end of the market as individuals factor in the increased cost of moving, according to Ran Morgan, head of Scotland residential sales at Knight Frank. He pointed out that there are still pockets of activity in Scotland’s prime market however, mostly in areas within commuting distance of large towns and cities. Prices in the central Scottish region, within an easy commute of Edinburgh and Glasgow, for example, rose by 0.4% between April and June and have risen by 2.8% on an annual basis. ‘In spite of higher levels of tax, Scottish property prices remain some way below their previous market peak. The market continues to offer good value, especially when compared with London and southern England,’ Morgan added. Continue reading →
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