DEMAND FOR Scotland's rural property looks set to bounce back once lockdown is lifted.

Land agents Galbraith have reported 'significant pent-up demand' from both buyers and sellers who are ready to restart the property market as soon as restrictions are loosened.

At the end of April, four of the UK’s major mortgage lenders announced more generous terms for borrowers, including an extension in their loan-to-value ratios, reduced mortgage fees or an increase in the maximum loan offered, which Galbraith believes will boost the property market.

“The government issued official guidance on March 26 advising people in the early stages of buying or selling their home to delay the transaction while emergency measures were in place," said Duncan Barrie, a partner with the firm. "However there are now positive signs that the movement restrictions may potentially be softened towards Mid-May or early June for at least some business sectors. Although a great deal of uncertainty remains, we anticipate the more rural property market is likely to rebound positively. The number of new instructions waiting to sell is equal to the level that would be expected at this time of year," he enthused.

“At the beginning of the year we experienced a healthy demand for rural property, and this continued until agency activity was put on hold at the start of the lockdown period. It is clear from ongoing conversations with the majority of both buyers and sellers over the last month that they want to continue as planned as soon as they can, whether they are midway through the process of a sale or at the very start of house hunting," said Mr Barrie.

"In the meantime, there is much that we can do now to get the ball rolling and to ensure that interested parties can hit the ground running once the market starts to open up.”

During the lockdown, some house hunters have been able to partake in virtual viewings of dwellings and watch property videos online. For sellers, agents can advise on how best to prepare a property for sale, both in terms of the administrative processes that can be initiated during this time and the maintenance jobs that should be undertaken to ensure that the property is looking its best before marketing begins.

Mr Barrie continued: “During lockdown three of our offices have managed to run five successful closing dates covering property in Central Scotland, Edinburgh, Angus and the Scottish Borders, with the firm having a further 14 sales completed, nine under offer and over 15 new properties launched in the last couple of weeks, a demonstration of the continued demand within the market."

He added that interest in the farm and farmland market has been relatively unaffected, pointing out that farmland will now be seen as a potential safe haven given the current turmoil facing individuals with stocks, shares and other asset classes.

"We are aware of buyers being keen to take advantage of even lower interest rates in relation to their purchase of farmland," he said. "In general the demand from potential purchasers for rural property has in some areas of the country exceeded the same period in 2019, with a larger number of new buyers registering to receive updates, for property across Scotland and Northern England."