Rural property trends & forecasts

Davidson and Robertson lifestyle property for sale

Lockdown changes to work/life balance help reshape lifestyle property market

The lifestyle property market could be set for change as more people realise they can work from home. The lockdown, aided by the digital age and ‘time on your hands’ has led some to reconsider their lifestyle and future property ambitions, cutting out the commute and working from home.

During 2019,  demand for lifestyle property in Scotland’s central commuter belt continued to be strong. But as people have been getting used to working from home, new potential buyers are also considering property beyond the commuter belt. The same is true for lifestyle property in Northern England

So what are the trends and forecasts for 2020?

Across Scotland and Northern England, rural properties secured good interest in 2019, and Davidson &  Robertson saw strong offers received, averaging 28% over asking price for all properties sold. This continued in the Spring quarter of 2020, before the Covid-19 outbreak. Factors like the quality of the property and location continued to determined level of interest in 2020 – pre-Covid-19.

Forestry: Land sold for tree planting continued to achieve strong results in early 2020, with D&R building on the success of 2019. Concluded sales achieved value around £2,000 per acre and even more, including achieving our best price per acre at an open market closing date in March.

Farms & Land: The market for farms and land is still dominated by agricultural buyers, including businesses taking local opportunities or those reinvesting in agricultural property for its tax benefits. Funding is still readily available at competitive rates and those who have income from sources external to agriculture are further incentivised to purchase due to the tax advantages of owning agricultural land.

Rural property: In recent years, the lifestyle property market has been dominated by buyers seeking properties within commuting distance of Central Scotland together with a manageable amount of land, often between 5 and 20 acres. This has been a busy market for D&R, acting for both buyers and sellers of open market and privately available property.

Speedy Bounce Back: While there is currently reduced activity on the open market in Scotland, all the signs indicate a speedy bounce back once current restrictions have been eased. D&R are progressing several under offer properties to conclusion, negotiating off-market sales and preparing properties for the market. There has also been an increase in purchaser enquiries and registrations with our buyers’ database, indicating a latent demand in the market.

Increased interest: It is considered that the increased interest in the rural property market is attributable to factors including the opportunities for progressive agricultural businesses, demand for tangible assets in uncertain markets, and the tax advantages currently available through owning agricultural land and forestry. These factors mainly existed pre-Covid-19 however the lockdown has also expanded interest in the rural property market.

Lockdown changes to work/life balance help reshape lifestyle property market

Previously, the lifestyle property market was characterised by the bias for a central belt location. While this may continue, the recent realisation during lockdown that a great number of us can work remotely from home, has reduced the need to be close to work for commuting reasons. Moreover, people have recognised the altered work/ life balance of working from home has significant benefits and there is an enthusiasm for spending more time outdoors, with its associated physical and mental health benefits.

It is often said that you cannot buy time however you can buy a property with the opportunity to give you more time. The key characteristics to consider for buyers and sellers of rural lifestyle properties in the future now include:

  • Connectivity: internet speeds, mobile phone reception
  • Office space: accommodation that provides an office without compromising bedrooms or living space. If not possible, are there opportunities to convert outbuildings or space for an outdoor office
  • Outdoor space: garden space for raised beds, greenhouse, orchard, entertaining and relaxing
  • Land: possibility to have a pony paddock and stables, hens or sheep
  • Buildings: opportunity to repurpose old buildings for personal use or ability to convert, subject to obtaining necessary consents, to generate a second income

D&R believe the market in 2020 will remain competitive once lockdown eases and the market gets back up and running. There are still opportunities for progressive agricultural business, forestry and planting land purchases. And with a glimpse of life working from home, there are greater prospects for lifestyle properties right across Scotland.

For those considering selling in 2020 but are holding off because of Brexit and Covid-19 uncertainty, we would advise to start planning now and engage with an Agent, so when the time is right, you are ready to enter the market.

George Hipwell is a Director and heads up Sales and Agency work at Davidson & Robertson. T: 0131 449 6212
Properties below: Left: Broughton Knowe, Right: Belsyde House & Farm

Davidson and Robertson lifestyle property for sale

Broughton Knowe


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