Elect­ing for con­fi­dence

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SINCE the Gen­eral Elec­tion was called, and in spite of the Easter break usu­ally bring­ing a sea­sonal down­turn in house sell­ing ac­tiv­ity, es­tate agent Strutt & Parker re­ports that busi­ness con­tin­ues apace, con­found­ing all ex­pec­ta­tions.

March proved to be a fan­tas­tic month with the num­ber of trans­ac­tions up by 86% over the pre­vi­ous month, and by 40% year on year.

Too good to be true? The first quar­ter of this year has seen the emer­gence of a num­ber of hot spots where homes have been sell­ing for as much as, or even more than, they would have fetched in 2007.

An­drew Ret­tie, head of the agency in Scot­land, says: “Sup­ply of re­ally good homes has been thin and buy­ers are start­ing once again to pay fig­ures above guide prices to se­cure the right house. Of late we are see­ing a marked in­crease in the num­ber of in­struc­tions.”

Com­pared to last year, mar­ket ap­praisals for in­tend­ing ven­dors are up by 85% and new in­struc­tions have tre­bled.

An­drew con­tin­ues: “In­di­ca­tions from all our of­fices thus far sug­gest that the an­nounce­ment of the elec­tion has not had a ma­jor im­pact on ac­tiv­ity. While I am hop­ing there will be a def­i­nite res­o­lu­tion to the elec­tion – in other words, we do not want a hung par­lia­ment as it cre­ates un­cer­tainty – the mar­ket is re­main­ing firm in the run-up, which we would not nor­mally ex­pect.”

All signs are that the mar­ket will re­main buoy­ant through­out the sum­mer months, he adds. CERAM­I­CIST Tom Butcher and his wife Fiona ar­rived in Scot­land eight years ago amid a flurry of me­dia cov­er­age be­cause they were one of the first cou­ples to ap­pear on Chan­nel 4’s Re­lo­ca­tion, Re­lo­ca­tion pro­gramme. Their jour­ney from cos­mopoli­tan London to peace­ful Loch Long was watched by mil­lions. Happy times and two chil­dren – four-year-old Daisy and two-year-old Ol­lie – later, Tom's busi­ness is thriv­ing. This lovely rus­tic sugar bowl, at £15, is one of many de­light­ful pieces from Manse­field Stu­dios, Ar­rochar, tel: 01301 702956 or www.tombutcherce­ram­ics.co.uk

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