Robert Bell is the Property Director at Harper Macleod's Estate Agency in Shetland. With decades of experience and having helped thousands of people to sell and find their homes, few people know the Shetland property world like he does and he has helped many homebuyers and sellers navigate a year of lockdown. Here, he takes time out from his busy schedule to share his insights into what's going on in the local marketplace as Scotland prepares to emerge from pandemic restrictions.
Activity, supply and demand
We definitely saw a post-lockdown surge which has continued in spite of the second lockdown; it is certainly a quite frenetic market here at the moment.
Compared with a few years ago there is not a lot of property available which, coupled with increased demand particularly from the south, is meaning that new properties can be snapped up quickly. Demand is definitely exceeding supply.
The way properties are being sold has changed and we are often seeing quick offers from would-be buyers hoping to avoid a closing date, although closing dates are more likely now than was the case pre-Covid.
There is definitely more interest from outwith Shetland and this is really pushing the market at present although local interest remains strong too, particularly from first time buyers. Presently we have a huge number of people from south on our mailing list, the most I have seen in 25 years, a reflection of the trend away from more urban areas, although it remains to be seen how many of these people will actually decide to move here in the end.
Trends and selling prices
Overall prices are on the up with some very strong prices being achieved. Although there will always be some properties that sell for less than asking price, these are the exception. Demand remains strong for Lerwick property as always but properties in rural areas are also selling well, a reflection of interest from down south – these buyers tend to go for rural properties rather than houses in the town.
Dealing with Covid
On the whole sellers seem ok working within the Covid precautions when showing people around. It is affecting people more from south. Whilst technically it is possible to come up and view a property here, most people are playing it safe and holding off until the overall situation improves and restrictions ease. Hopefully it will not be too long now before this happens. We have seen a few cases of people deciding to buy without viewing, although our advice is always to view in person.
Top tips for selling
Presentation is key as always but, given the change in working dynamics, it is also important to think about potential office space for anyone working from home. Outdoor space is more important now.
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