A huge 30% surge in property sales has been recorded across Scotland as buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax holiday before it ended.
Official figures show transactions jumped to £12.1 billion between September 2020 and February 2021, compared to £9.3bn in the same six-month period in 2019/20.
And close to £1bn in sales went through in the north-east alone, representing a mini property boom not seen in the region since oil prices last peaked in 2014.
In Aberdeen, they were up by 10% to £414million, however in neighbouring Aberdeenshire they spiked by 44%, to £582m.
The six months between September and February saw a surge in property sales compared to the previous year, and the LBTT holiday coming to an end definitely contributed to increased sales.”
The data – compiled by Aberdein Considine using figures from Registers of Scotland – showed similar increases across much of the nation.
In Dundee, sales were up by 54% to almost £265m, in Perth and Kinross they increased by 48% to £452m, while the rise was of 32% in both Fife and Angus, to £735m and £233m respectively.
There was a 36% surge in Moray to £187m, an increase of 19% to £514m in Highland, while there were rises of 46% to £27m in the Western Isles, of 31% to £30m in Shetland, and of 17% to £40m in Orkney.
The flurry of activity in the housing market was linked to buyers rushing to take advantage of a temporary cut in the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT).
In a bid to reignite the property market during the coronavirus crisis, the Scottish Government raised the threshold at which LBTT would kick in from £145,000 to £250,000.
It meant 80% of purchasers in Scotland paid no tax at all, but the break ended on March 31, meaning anyone buying at over £250,000 from April 1 onwards had to pay an additional £2,100.
Alan Cumming is national estate agency director at Aberdein Considine, one of Scotland’s largest property and mortgage firms.
He said: “The six months between September and February saw a surge in property sales compared to the previous year, and the LBTT holiday coming to an end definitely contributed to increased sales.
“We expect this strong market to continue into the summer months due to increasing confidence from sellers as lockdown restrictions ease and pupils return to school.
“After several years of a market with more than enough stock, we are now starting to see a shortage of good family homes in some areas and we’d urge people thinking of selling to take advantage of the strong market conditions in their favour right now.
After several years of a market with more than enough stock, we are now starting to see a shortage of good family homes in some areas and we’d urge people thinking of selling to take advantage of the strong market conditions in their favour right now.”
“We currently have around 1,200 homes for sale and more than 400 are sitting under offer with a sale agreed, which gives a flavour of how the market is moving.”
On the figures for the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire areas, he added: “The rise in Aberdeenshire is partly being driven by a wave of buyers from elsewhere relocating to rural areas, Royal Deeside in particular.
“While it is easy to dwell at the current issues in the oil and gas industry, people from other parts of the UK look at this region and see it for its stunning scenery, beaches, thriving food and drinks industry, low crime and great schools.
“Almost a billion pounds in sales in just six months is no mean feat and highlights the enduring appeal of the area to house-hunters.”
Pressure in the housing market was repeatedly highlighted in focus group and opinion poll research carried out for Survation to inform our election coverage.
And earlier this month, we revealed how the Scottish Government’s First Home Fund, designed to help first-time buyers onto the market, had run out of money within days of opening.