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Prime country house prices in Scotland rose by 0.2% between January and March, a slightly more modest increase than the 1% growth seen in the final quarter of 2014, the latest data shows. Annual growth also slowed, to 1.2%. This compares to average growth of 2.1% in 2014, according to the latest index report from Knight Frank. Average prices remain 22% below the market peak in 2007 so a property valued at £1 million in 2007 would now be worth £780,000. However, there are regional variations in price growth across the prime market. Edinburgh leads from the front with a year on year price rise of 4.1%, followed by Central and Northern Scotland. However, while price growth at the top end of the market has slowed in the approach to the UK General Election, prime sales volumes in the first quarter of 2015 have increased. The firm says this can be attributed to the introduction of the new Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) this month as both buyers and vendors in the prime market have looked to complete deals ahead of the introduction of the new levy. Under the new rules, 50% of buyers will not be liable to pay any tax on the purchase of a home. However, for homes valued above £333,000 the up-front cost of moving will increase. Knight Frank sales data shows the number of prime country homes changing hands between January and March, ahead of the implementation of the new levy, was 11% higher than during the first three months of 2014. The report suggests that the introduction of LBTT is likely to have a knock-on impact on sales at the top end of the market in the second quarter of the year. ‘However, we expect that in the medium term the market will adjust to the new system, underpinned by current favourable economic conditions,’ said Ran Morgan, head of Scottish residential sales. ‘In spite of higher levels of property tax, Scottish property continues to offer good value, especially when compared with London and southern England,’ he added. The data also shows that more than half of buyers in this property sector are from outside of Scotland. ‘Over the last year 57% of our buyers were from outside of Scotland, highlighting the global appeal of the country. This trend has continued in 2015, with individuals from Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London all purchasing properties during the first three months of the year,’ explained Morgan. A breakdown of the figures shows that 31% were from other parts of the UK, on top of that 12% were from London, 5% were from the Middle East and 5% from Asia. Some 2% were from Europe and 2% from North America. Continue reading →
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