English buyers and reopened English housing market drives demand in Scotland

It’s been two weeks since some of the restrictions on the property market were eased in England but Scotland remains in lockdown.

The publication of Scotland’s COVID-19 route map last week stated that “preparing for the safe reopening of the housing market” would be part of Phase 1 and “relaxation of restrictions on housing moves” would be part of Phase 2.

Phase 1 is due to begin on 28th May, and certain criteria must be met before we can progress to Phase 2 – the next formal review will be held on the 18th June.

ESPC has seen steady increases in viewing enquiries, valuation requests, Home Report downloads and web traffic for a few weeks now, but this increase has become more evident since the English market activity resumed.

While these figures are still lower than usual for this time of year, this increase highlights that there remains strong interest in moving home once some of the current restrictions have eased.

In a recent survey of 30 of their members, 23 stated that they had seen an increase in enquiries since news of the English market restrictions being eased.

The remaining seven agents said activity and enquiries remained about the same as before.

Marion Walker, Property Manager at Castle Douglas-based Hewats Solicitors and Estate Agents, said:

“Since the restrictions were lifted in the housing market in England, I have seen a significant increase in enquiries from south of the border.

“The enquiries range from asking about Home Reports to requests to book in person viewings, which are not currently available in Scotland due to lockdown measures.

“Following on from the recent bank holiday, I would say our daily enquires have risen by a good 50% plus, with English buyers commenting that they had always planned to move to the region and the current situation has moved their plans forward.”

Dianne Paterson, Partner at Russell + Aitken, an agent with offices in Edinburgh and Central Scotland, said:

“Although the property market has not ceased completely during lockdown, it is noticeable that, since the regulations were relaxed in England, we have received an increased number of enquiries on both the sale and purchase side.

“Once the regulations in Scotland are relaxed, we anticipate that the Scottish market will be a busy one, fuelled by eager purchasers and sellers, whose plans were put on hold during this period.

“We are expecting an active few months, with both an increased interest in, and availability of, properties for sale.”

Mary McQueen, Partner at McDougal McQueen, an agent which operates in Edinburgh and the Lothians, said:

“There’s definitely been an increase in new buyer enquiries, and viewers who previously enquired getting in touch again as they think in person viewings have resumed in Scotland as well.

“There have also been more enquiries asking for definite and dates when viewings will start.

“The majority of people do appreciate the need for restrictions but are very keen for them to be eased so we can get back to some sort of normality.”

Michael Maloco, Senior Partner of Dunfermline-based Maloco + Associates, said:

“We’ve had two really busy weeks. We’ve done five or six virtual valuations with four listings of the back of these.

“There have been lots of virtual viewings arranged and physical viewings booked in for when they are possible, with 18 bookings for one property alone.

“We may also have at least one closing date next week too.”

Cochran Dickie Estate Agency has noted an increase in enquiries in the west of Scotland since news of some English property market activities resuming. Curtis Chisholm, a director of the firm commented:

“We have a number of enquiries coming in from people looking to view current stock.

“We have one house in Castlehead in Paisley, which went live just before lockdown, that has 58 viewers lined up.”



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