The property market held up well during 2015 and DGSPC has maintained its fair share in face of competition from non-solicitor estate agencies and web based agencies.
Interest rates continue to remain low and this has had a positive effect on sales as buyers have the confidence to proceed to buy. Dumfries & Galloway is a relatively low priced area and it is still possible to buy a decent 3 bedroom semi for under £125,000.
Sales during 2015 were up 3.4% on the same period in 2014 with the average house price for 2015 being £139,748.
Dumfries & Galloway SPC sold over £88m in property during 2015, an increase of over £1.7m on 2014.
House purchasers need to be aware that with effect from 1st April 2016 the Government has introduced an Additional Dwelling Supplement with the effect that a new Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (Stamp Duty) supplement will require to be paid on purchases of additional residential properties in Scotland.
This will affect purchasers buying properties to let or buying second homes. The supplement means that additional LBTT of 3% of the total purchase price will be paid in addition to any LBTT that might have been paid at the pre 1st April rate. By way of example if a property was being purchased pre 1st April at a price of £155,000.00 the LBTT payable would have been £200.00. If the Additional Dwelling Supplement applies then the LBTT payable will be £4,850.00. This is a significant increase in LBTT.
The supplement will apply if you purchase a property in Scotland but own or partly own with others a property in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK for example if a couple jointly owned their main residence and wanted to jointly purchase a flat with their son or daughter then because the parents already partly owned a property this flat would be deemed to be an Additional Dwelling and so the supplement would apply even if that property was going to be the main residence of the child.
Clearly the new supplement is slightly more complicated than it first appears. There are some reliefs from the Supplement available in terms of the legislation but it is important before making any decision to purchase a second property that buyers seek legal advice as to the possible additional financial consequences of that.
The DGSPC website at www.dgspc.co.uk continues to attract record numbers of visitors. Website visits during 2015 were up by 6% on 2014 and it was interesting to note that visits to our mobile site were up 38% in the same period.