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Stability predicted for Tayside housing market

January 12 2011

A Tayside property expert has predicted that house prices will remain relatively stable during the course of this year. Giving his predictions for 2011, Lindsay Darroch, partner and head of property services at Blackadder's, which has offices in Arbroath, Dundee and Forfar, said he is expecting this year to start slowly but to end on an upbeat note. Mr Darroch has also urged both the Scottish and UK governments to take all steps possible to bolster the housing market for 2011. He said, "The start of 2010 was anticipated to carry on a continuing upward trajectory just as 2009 had finished. "This was slightly slowed down by the bad weather at the tail end of December 2009 and the start of January 2010, causing a slight dip in transactions in February. "In general, between February and September, houses coming on to the market exceeded expectations and were on average about 20% higher than 2009." He added, "The figures for Dundee and Angus were slightly stronger and kept above line figures until November. "The early snow at the end of November certainly curtailed market activity and this, linked with a number of negative press articles and a general feeling of economic uncertainty, caused the figures to dip further with market activity for December being about 20% less than December 2009. "My feeling is that house prices did not show any remarkable drop and were relatively stable for 2010, however the caveat to this being that if you bought in 2007 the market has not yet reached those levels and also sellers in general are becoming more realistic regarding an achievable price for the property." Mr Darroch believes the first three months of 2011 will see property activity levels below those of 2010 due to a lingering Christmas hangover, continuing economic uncertainty and the government debt reduction plans starting to have an impact including the VAT increase, the rise in fuel costs, the National Insurance increase and the public sector spending cuts. However, he said he anticipates a slight pick-up in the second quarter with 2010 levels being reached by the end of June. Mr Darroch said, "Thereafter I would be expecting a strong last six months with 2011 ending on an upbeat note. "Again, I would anticipate prices remaining relatively stable during the course of 2011." Mr Darroch's wishes for 2011 include:Home reports being abolished or at least temporarily suspended. Tax breaks for property investors through pension legislation.

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Angus & The Mearns

Tayside property chief says Scottish Help to Buy scheme is too restricted

October 21 2013

A Tayside property expert has criticised the Scottish version of the Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers as not going far enough. The Scottish scheme only applies to first-time buyers buying new-build properties, whereas England’s scheme does not have this restriction. The Scottish Government is taking up to 20% equity in homes bought by successful applicants, making it easier for people with deposits as low as 5% to obtain mortgages. Lindsay Darroch, partner and head of property at Blackadders, has called on the Scottish Government to open up the scheme further. He said: “While I welcome all assistance to the housing market, I think the Scottish Government’s version of the Help to Buy scheme hasn’t gone far enough. It only helps first-time buyers purchasing new-build properties. “I wish that they had done more analysis in terms of the numbers of first-time buyers in Scotland that actually buy a new-build property in my experience, very few, if any. “I hope that they revisit their scheme and open it up to all properties and all buyers.” Mr Darroch has also responded to criticism that lenders have set the interest rates of Help to Buy mortgages too high. He said the scheme was not designed to introduce cheap mortgages but to increase the availability of mortgages. “I have read a number of articles on the Government’s Help to Buy scheme with the commentators advising that lenders are not reducing their rates as part of the scheme,” he added. “I think the articles are misguided as the point of the Help to Buy scheme is not to reduce the cost of borrowing but is in fact to make borrowing at higher loan to value more readily available. “I think lenders are being very sensible in not making the cost of this too cheap but I hope that it is on the proviso that when interest rates start rising, in 2015 to 2017, mortgage payments in the Help to Buy scheme do not rise as quickly.” Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the first lenders to offer products under the scheme, said it had taken 10,000 calls on mortgages since last week’s launch double the number it would usually expect to take. The Help to Buy scheme has attracted criticism that a return to 95% mortgages could fuel another property bubble.

Perth & Kinross

Man ends behind bars after rage over TV channel being changed

July 2 2015

A man spent two nights behind bars after flying into a rage and hurling abuse at his partner because she changed the TV channel. David Darroch lost his temper when his partner of 12 years picked up the remote control and switched channels during a festive karaoke party. Darroch was arrested and locked up for two nights. He had his sentence deferred for good behaviour at Perth Sheriff Court. Depute fiscal Jim Eodanable said: “The couple had been in a relationship for 12 years. There was a discussion about changing channel on the TV and the accused reacted very badly.” The 45-year-old spent 48 hours in police cells and subsequently admitted shouting, swearing and causing fear and alarm by acting aggressively on December 27 last year. The court was told Darroch was “infuriated” when his partner changed channels on the TV. Details of what he was watching were not given to the court. The court was told that a family event was taking place over the festive period which involved people taking part in a karaoke sing-a-long and drinking alcohol. Darroch, who was said to suffer from anger management problems, was seen pouring himself a whisky and was asked by his partner not to drink any more. He went to the kitchen and returned in a mood, the court heard. While he was out, his partner had changed the channel and when he noticed he launched into a foul-mouthed rant. Solicitor John McLaughlin said the couple were back together and Darroch’s anger issues had been sparked by a serious accident several years ago. “His partner has indicated she has lived with this difficulty in the years since the accident,” Mr McLaughlin said. “It is exacerbated by alcohol consumption.” Sheriff Fiona Tait deferred sentence until next month for his GP to provide a medical report.

Angus & The Mearns

Property expert ‘cautiously optimistic’ on house prices

January 26 2015

A Tayside property expert is “cautiously optimistic” property prices will increase this year. Lindsay Darroch, head of property at Blackadders, is predicting there will be a 10% increase in market activity this year with house prices rising by around five per cent. He is also predicting more property investors will enter the Tayside market in 2015. “I believe that there will be an increased improvement in 2015, although my mantra is cautiously optimistic,” he said. “I would once again be predicting a 10% increase in market activity with a slight increase in house price, probably averaging around the 5% mark. “I think lenders will continue to grow in confidence and that there will be an increase in property investors. “This will assist in relation to clearing some of the glut of first-time buyer properties and also improving the quality of properties available to the increasing number of people who are looking to move property but cannot afford to buy so will need to rent.” Mr Darroch said he is concerned about what effects economic problems in the eurozone could have on British banks’ attitude towards mortgage lending. He added that this May’s general election shouldn’t bring with it the same amount of uncertainty as last year’s referendum, although he does have concerns about the introduction of a mansion tax.

Business news

Tayside property chief “slightly more negative” about market’s prospects in 2017

January 18 2017

A Tayside property expert has sounded a “cautious” warning for the market in 2017 as a result of Brexit and "anti-property investor" policies from the Scottish Government. Lindsay Darroch, head of property at Blackadders, said he is “slightly more negative” than he has been in the last couple of years. Writing in his property blog, he added: “I think that 2017 will be unchartered territory as the impact of Brexit, be it soft or hard, starts affecting people’s buying power. “The continued uncertainty of Indy 2, the negative impact of the additional dwelling supplement and Scottish Government policies that in general seem to be anti-home ownership but are certainly anti-property investor, will all have an impact. “I think that we will continue to see low interest rates and good mortgage deals and I suspect there will be a further contraction in relation to the size of the market, but possibly not as large as some commentators are predicting.” Mr Darroch said his wish for 2017 would include increased assistance for first-time buyers, a review of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax bandings and the removal of the additional dwelling supplement. “In summary, I am predicting a 5% decrease in market activity with a slight increase in house prices averaging around the 2% to 4% mark,” he said.

Perth & Kinross

Property sales pick up but market needs first-timers

September 19 2013

A Tayside property expert has predicted a rise in local house prices from next summer as the number of first-time buyers increases. Lindsay Darroch, head of property at Blackadders, is also confident of sustained recovery by summer 2015. He said: “I think we will continue to see an improving housing market with activity levels rising. From the summer of 2014, I would expect to see a rise in property prices as the number of first-time buyers increases. “The consequence of this will be a greater willingness from lenders to fund developers, which will have a positive impact not only in the housing market but on the economy as a whole.” Mr Darroch said that market activity in the past 12 months has increased by about 20% to 25%. He said: “Although we have seen an increase in the number of closing dates, prices have stabilised, not increased. “Sellers are now more realistic about their price expectations and this has contributed to improving the Scottish housing market. “This realism has been driven by an appreciation that, if they are moving up in the property market, the price paid or received is not as important as the cost of change.”

Business news

Blackadders property chief sees another subdued market in 2012

January 12 2012

A Tayside property firm partner is predicting the local housing market will be ''very subdued'' for the time being. Lindsay Darroch, partner and head of property services at Blackadders Solicitors, anticipates first-quarter activity levels will come close to the low point of 2009. Mr Darroch said: ''My feeling is that with the sovereign debt crisis rumbling on, further public-sector cuts and banks continuing to tighten up on lending criteria, quarter one and quarter two of 2012 will be very subdued... ''I am also anticipating the faltering recovery in America will start gaining more traction during quarter two of 2012 with the feel-good factor of the presidential election in November impacting on the year-end. ''By quarter three we will start seeing a steady increase in property market activity levels with quarter four ending on a high point. ''Overall I predict activity levels finishing at the same levels of 2011 but with a much slower start. As with 2011 my feeling is that property prices will remain stable.'' He is calling for more assistance for first-time buyers with government guarantee funded by compulsory introduction of mortgage indemnity premiums. Mr Darroch wants to see tax breaks for property investment and more money for social housing. He has also called for home reports to be abolished or at least temporarily suspended or alternatively remove the valuation element of home reports and leave them simply as a report on the condition of a property.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Angus & The Mearns

Tayside property chief says stagnation, not bubbles, is chief concern

November 12 2013

A Tayside property expert has dismissed concerns about a property bubble, saying he is more worried about market stagnation. Lindsay Darroch, the head of property at Blackadders, said that although the number of property sales in Scotland is up, there is no increase in the number of homes coming on to the market. He said this imbalance is leading to “increased price volatility”. Mr Darroch said: “Despite all these recent headlines regarding house price bubbles, property market stagnation is something I have a real concern about. “Currently we are seeing Scottish-wide trends, with the number of sales being up between 15% and 20%. “However, the number of new properties coming on to the market is, at best, staying the same, and in some areas actually dropping, with more properties selling than coming on. “This is leading to increased price volatility as more people chase after fewer properties.” Mr Darroch said the market went through a similar adjustment in the early and late 1990s, when people did not put their property on to the market until they found one they wanted to buy. “The two things that broke that cycle were the banks increasing lending to first-time buyers and a massive increase in new-build developments,” he continued. “The increase of the new-build developments led to a surge of stock coming on to the market which, by early 2000, got the property market back on an even keel. “I am in discussions with a number of developers regarding an increase in the proposed developments that are due to begin in Scotland. However, it will take a while for these properties to come on to the market.” Mr Darroch said there were several steps that “need to happen” in the meantime, until there is an increase in new housing stock available. These include controversial measures, such as scrapping or suspending for six months the home report system where sellers need to prepare a report at the cost of several hundred pounds before putting their property on the market. He explained: “The home report is a barrier against speculative selling and we need to do everything we can to encourage more people to put their properties on the market.” Mr Darroch also called for more assistance to enable first-time buyers to buy older properties. Currently, the Scottish version of the Help to Buy scheme only applies to new-build properties. He said: “There are lots of flats and first-time buyer-suitable properties languishing on the property market at present. This would free up a whole group of purchasers, which should assist with the free-flowing property market that we require. “Also, the banks need to be encouraged to support developers of all sizes in relation to kicking off new-build developments, and the Scottish Government needs to do more to assist the building of new properties. “Finally, local authorities need to be encouraged to be more relaxed and speed up the process in relation to planning matters.”