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SCOTS WHA HAE!

By Mark Atkinson BA MRICS

In the early hours of September 19th, 2014, a leading Edinburgh estate agent slept fitfully - £150,000 of fees depended on there not being a ‘Yes’ vote. As the night wore on, he found himself relaxing – no car horns, fireworks or chants of “Scots Wha Hae” disturbed his beauty sleep – he knew that the Better Together campaign had won.

A ‘Yes’ vote would have led to a period of great uncertainty. Not just possible fluctuations in the stock market and the pound, but almost certain depression in the Scottish property market. A significant proportion of the owners of expensive houses were talking of “getting out.” The market would have been flooded and there would have been fewer purchasers. £1,000,000 houses would have quickly become worth £600,000, with mediocre properties near impossible to sell.

The uncertainty could have continued for many years – as the legal framework of a new nation was laboriously constructed, with much trial and error before a new equilibrium was reached. Exciting times, but not for property owners.

Now that September 18th is past, those involved in the Scottish residential market are giving a huge ‘phew’ of relief…if only 6% of the electorate had voted the other way! But for now, the Referendum is over and there are signs of optimism around. More properties are being brought onto the market and good sales are being achieved – to expatriates and to purchasers moving from London and the South East, attracted by the hugely greater value for money north of the border.

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