RURAL landowners who have been in discussions with house builders and developers regarding potential new developments and land sales should soon have a clearer picture of the way ahead.

According to accountants Saffrey Champness, that way ahead could be a development boom, as many people will have spent time during lockdown contemplating their future living situations – and the benefits of living in more rural locations with increased access to outdoor spaces will be a 'key motivator' in future house buying decisions.

Firm partner, Sean McGinness said: “With the Scottish Government extending the help to buy scheme into 2022 there are definite incentives to continue building new homes. Furthermore, the expectation is that the UK Government’s ‘fiscal event’ this month will have some measures aimed at increased housing and infrastructure development. The aim of this will be to boost confidence in the housebuilding and development sectors, and it is hoped that where the Scottish Government has responsibility for policy it will follow UK policies that encourage housing and infrastructure development.

"This could lead to developers looking to add to their land banks for future projects in three to five years’ time," said Mr McGinness. "Indeed, it is understood that some housebuilders have already raised additional capital to ensure they are in a position to secure the correct site at the correct value.

“The upcoming fiscal event will make for interesting viewing to see if there is any further hint at an alignment of capital gains tax with income taxes which could increase the tax on a land sale from 20% to 46%. This was already being suggested prior to the Covid-19 crisis and could be more likely given the level of unplanned debt taken on over the last few months.

“Rural businesses have found it tough in the last few months and the Government re-opening the construction sector coupled with the anticipated July opening of the tourism and hospitality sectors, with an expected surge in demand for staycations may provide a welcome fillip to the sector.”