A spring in the step

THE VOICE OF PROP­ERTY BEV­ER­LEY BROWN

The Herald - Scotland's Homes - - Scotland’s Homes -

Anum­ber of sources are in­di­cat­ing things may be tak­ing a turn for the bet­ter. bank of Scot­land has re­vealed that mort­gage pay­ments in Scot­land ac­count for a lower pro­por­tion of dis­pos­able earn­ings than any­where else in the uK bar north­ern Ire­land, hav­ing fallen by more than two-fifths from a peak of 38% in the last quar­ter of 2007 to 22% in the fourth quar­ter of 2012.

Com­ment­ing on the bank’s find­ings, ret­tie & Co’s head of re­search, Dr John boyle, says: “Hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity in Scot­land has been boosted by the mod­est fall in house prices, re­duced mort­gage rates and an in­crease in the size of de­posits be­ing put down by buy­ers. How­ever, the high level of de­posit re­quired – around 20% for first-time buy­ers, dou­ble the long-term av­er­age – and re­stric­tions on lend­ing are still mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to get on to, or move up, the hous­ing lad­der, hence trans­ac­tions re­main sub­dued. nev­er­the­less, im­proved af­ford­abil­ity could help the mar­ket re­cover more quickly in Scot­land when the econ­omy im­proves and ac­cess to fi­nance for mort­gages is more avail­able.”

mean­while, prop­erty and land man­age­ment spe­cial­ist bell In­gram re­ports Ar­gyll and bute’s prop­erty mar­ket is show­ing signs of mov­ing for­ward, based on healthy sales fig­ures for prop­er­ties and es­tates in 2012, cou­pled with a buoy­ant ren­tal sec­tor.

As­so­ciate Steven Hornby says that while con­di­tions re­main chal­leng­ing and house prices for the most part are sim­i­lar or lower than they were 12 months ago, sales are pick­ing up and new buy­ers are coming into the area, so there are plenty of pos­i­tives to boost peo­ple’s con­fi­dence in the lo­cal mar­ket.

Fur­ther north, av­er­age house prices in the High­lands g

Fine prop­er­ties for sale, and par­ties claim­ing things are on the up – is it too early to wa­ger that the win­ter of dis­con­tent is over?

were down only marginally in 2012 com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to High­land So­lic­i­tors Prop­erty Cen­tre (HSPC). And the year ended on a high note, with av­er­age prices in De­cem­ber ris­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to £182,328, the high­est monthly av­er­age since July 2008 and 15% up on De­cem­ber 2011.

Good news too for east cen­tral Scot­land as the to­tal num­ber of homes sold across ed­in­burgh, the Loth­i­ans and Fife dur­ing the last three months of 2012 rose by 11% on the year and to the high­est level recorded for the fourth quar­ter since 2007, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est eSPC statis­tics.

And for new home buy­ers comes news that bank of Scot­land has joined the Scot­tish Government-sup­ported mI new Home scheme, which en­ables buy­ers with a 5-10% de­posit to bor­row up to 95% for new-build prop­er­ties val­ued up to £250,000. Prod­uct op­tions in­clude a two-year fixed mort­gage at 5.69% with a £999 fee; a two-year fixed mort­gage at 6.09% with no fee, and a seven-year fixed mort­gage at 5.69% with no fee.

Bon­nie in­deed

ALtHouGH burns night has been and gone, Sav­ills’ Glas­gow of­fice is mar­ket­ing an 18th-cen­tury house in north Ayr­shire with a link to the bard. mayville House in Steven­son was the birth­place, in 1768, of Les­ley bail­lie, later im­mor­talised by burns as bon­nie Les­ley in two of his songs. the house was built in 1763 by her fa­ther, robert bail­lie, and the bail­lie fam­ily claimed to be de­scended from bal­liol, King of Scot­land, and Sir Wil­liam Wal­lace.

the b-listed Ge­or­gian house is en­chant­ing and has been owned by the same fam­ily since 1919. re­cently re­fur­bished, it com­bines con­tem­po­rary in­flu­ences and pe­riod features in­clud­ing an in­glenook fire­place, salt al­cove, and a beau­ti­ful stained glass win­dow on the stair­case, thought to de­pict robert burns. mayville has three pub­lic rooms, kitchen, cloak­room, three bed­rooms and two bath­rooms on the first floor, and two bed­rooms on the at­tic floor.

A mile from the sea, it stands in 1.5 acres of garden grounds that in­clude a tree-lined drive­way, a meadow (could be re­in­stated as a pad­dock), sum­mer­house, and a sta­ble block with plan­ning per­mis­sion for con­ver­sion to two two-storey cot­tages. the sta­ble block, gate piers and a sun­dial in the front garden are all also b listed. of­fers over £525,000 are in­vited.

Wooden it be nice

tHe old Gra­nary near Syming­ton in South Ayr­shire is an­other prop­erty that war­rants a men­tion. An imag­i­na­tive barn con­ver­sion com­pleted in 2004, its 3200 sq ft lay­out in­cor­po­rates a gal­leried kitchen/din­ing room fit­ted with solid oak be­spoke units and a built-in four-oven Aga, sit­ting room and study area, draw­ing room and four en-suite bed­rooms. Features are many – the draw­ing room has a vaulted ceil­ing with ex­posed roof trusses, floor-to-ceil­ing win­dow and an in­glenook brick fire­place with mul­ti­fuel stove. It also has solid oak floor­ing,

A seat of learn­ing

DID you see the pic­ture of a “loo with a view” that ap­peared in numer­ous news­pa­pers the other week? While all eyes were pre­sum­ably meant to be on the jaw-drop­ping view from the floorto-ceil­ing win­dow of a toi­let 765ft up on the 68th floor of the Shard build­ing in Lon­don, all I could see was the toi­let with both the seat and lid left up. Clearly the last oc­cu­pant – and the pho­tog­ra­pher – were male.

All in the prepa­ra­tion

ProP­erty par­tic­u­lars are gen­er­ally of a high stan­dard nowa­days. How­ever, mal­a­prop­isms are still alive and kick­ing. I re­cently re­ceived a printed sched­ule that in­cluded the fol­low­ing mind-bog­gling para­graph:

“the beau­ti­fully ap­pointed rooms will be painted in pal­lets from the truly au­then­tic Far­row and ball paint which is made with only the finest in­gre­di­ents and with age old meth­ods; the re­sult has a scrump­tious cov­eted fin­ish.”

While it is com­mon to see iron re­ferred to as “rot” in­stead of “wrought”, vi­su­al­is­ing a room painted in “pal­lets” is a first.

MAYVILLE HOUSE: of­fers over £525,000.

AR­GYLL AND BUTE: es­tate sales fig­ures have boosted the over­all pic­ture.

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