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Investing in the future - Nicola Sturgeon's New Year Message

Tuesday 10 January 2017

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, delivered her 2017 New Year’s message to Scotland, outlining that infrastructure projects and making Superfast broadband available to all households will progress in the next 12 months.

Investing in the future was central to the First Minister’s message as she said that the new Queensferry Crossing, the largest Scottish infrastructure project in the modern times, will be completed in 2017. She also said that the electrification of the main railway line between Glasgow and Edinburgh will be finished next year as well as dualling the A9, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral route.

Superfast broadband will be made available to all households across Scotland and the Scottish Government will look to ensure that the people of Scotland retain as many of the benefits of European Union membership as possible.

In his predictions for 2017, NAEA Managing Director, Mark Hayward said there will not be extensive house price inflation this year and the number of transactions will remain steady. NAEA asked members across the UK in November their views on the property market in 2017 and almost half (43 per cent) of member agents expect prices to stay the same.

Mark believes that as house price inflation stalls, first time buyers should find it easier to enter the market. Almost a third (29 per cent) of NAEA agents think sales to the group will increase. According to Registers of Scotland, house prices have increased by 3.4 per cent in the last year and NAEA is pleased that in December the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee invited the Scottish Government to provide information in relation to the impact that LBTT has had on the first-time buyer market. 

While help for first-time buyers is currently focused on new builds, Mark thinks we should now focus on helping the group buying older properties, the so-called ‘fixer uppers’, because they are better value for money in the long term.

In September, Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her government’s plans for the coming year in the context of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. She has committed the Scottish Government to investing more than £3 billion for affordable housing supply over the life of the Parliament and delivering at least 50,000 homes (35,000 of which will be for social rent).

NAEA welcomes the new house-building targets and we applaud the Scottish Government’s efforts. However, we still haven’t seen a significant increase in the number of properties being built. We need to see these promises converted into bricks and mortar for a better housing market for all. New homes are vital for affordability but employment rates, income levels and consumer confidence also contribute to housing market activity and pricing. Furthermore infrastructure projects and transport are the things that can really get the economy moving.