The Wise News Round-up #5

Can you believe that Christmas was 2 months ago already? 2013 is flying in and so far we’ve only managed to get one weekly round-up out. With articles from GSPC, The Telegraph and Rightmove we’ll be taking a look at the property market in Scotland and how it has been changing in recent years.

Are we a nation of tenants?

Mark Hordern’s excellent article asks the question is Scotland destined to become a nation of tenants?” In the news in recent weeks there have been headlines that state “it is over £400 a year cheaper to buy than rent in Scotland” and the “Number of home owners drops to lowest levels in 25 years.”

The article states that there isn’t a long-term shift towards renting in Scotland for 3 reasons.

  1. It is normal to have a decline in home ownership during a recession.

  2. The rise in the private rented sector is matched by a decline in the proportion of the housing stock owned by housing associations and local authorities.

  3. It is now cheaper to buy than rent.

However, there are barriers to buying a property. Even with the rise of 95% mortgages, a large capital deposit is still required and in a recession not many people, especially younger, single adults, have money available. Furthermore, after a property has been bought it needs to be furnished which can cost thousands of pounds.

Renting, for a large percentage of the population, is far easier than buying. People like simplicity of renting and are happy to put up with slightly higher annual costs. Another barrier to buying a property is location. Would a new graduate want to move out of the city to an area where they could afford a property? Renting is an easier way to live in a more desirable location.

Housing market trends

Rightmove have released figures that suggest a positive trend in the housing market in the UK. The average asking price is £235,741 which is the highest in February since 2008. Rightmove also report that their website activity and volume of enquiries in January has increased that suggest a high level of engagement.

49% of those planning to buy in 2013 will be doing so for at least the third time and first-time buyings make up just 22% of all prospective buyers in 2013. This is because older buyers have built up equity through previous properties and are at an advantage because they can raise the substantial deposits required by lenders.

Do you think that more needs to be done to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder?

Scottish towns awarded £10m towards improvement works

On a positive note; we’re glad to report that a number of Scottish towns have been awarded £10 million towards improvement works via Historic Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme.

The funds are designed to encourage local authorities to invest in their historic environment and stimulate economic regeneration. Do you think that this funding will help stimulate the economy?

The big winners for the grant are Falkirk (£1.6m), Kirkwall (£1.2m) Cupar (£1m) and Parkhead Cross in Glasgow (£1m). How do you think this money should be used in these areas?

Breathtaking basement conversion

We always like to feature ‘cool homes’ that we can aspire to. The Telegraph has 10 homes with breathtaking basement conversions. Surprisingly from The Telegraph, not all of the properties featured will cost you an arm and a leg although there are still some hefty price tags.

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