Parties invariably address housing in their manifestos - including property taxes, home energy efficiency and anomalies in conveyancing practices - and this year will be no different.
So, as we gear up for the start of the Scottish Parliament election campaign, it is worth considering some of the things we would like to see introduced, reformed, or scrapped by the next government at Holyrood.
Housing will arguably play a crucial role in Scotland’s post-pandemic recovery, so ensuring there will continue to be a buoyant market has never been more important.
Improving housing stock: Ask any estate agent in Edinburgh to name the most important issue facing the sector and at or near the top of everyone’s list will be the availability of housing stock.
There has been a chronic shortage of available properties to buy in Scotland’s capital for several years and more investment in property development is badly needed. The Scottish Government can play its part by introducing measures to encourage the building of social housing.
It can also look at liberalising planning regulations, to make it easier for private developers to build in areas where there is a demand, while respecting the environment and the city’s built and natural heritage.
Empty homes: Another issue that inhibits market activity is the number of empty homes, which can lower land values and make it harder to sell neighbouring properties.
Ministers could offer greater incentives for owners to bring empty these properties back into use.
LBTT bands: A running sore in the Edinburgh property market has been the rates at which Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) bands have been set since it replaced Stamp Duty in 2015.
Politicians badly underestimated the sensitivity of the market to tax changes, particularly for sales of middle and high-end properties, which have slowed considerably since the introduction of LBTT.
Rate should be reviewed to encourage second-steppers and others looking to climb the housing ladder.
There is also an argument for extending the five per cent levy to properties worth up to £500,000, halving the amount for taxpayers in that price range.
Action on cladding: The Grenfell Tower fire in London highlighted the scandal of unsafe cladding that has been used on multi-storey properties across the UK. Thousands of people have been left in limbo, unable to sell flats in blocks that do not have safety certificates. The next Scottish Government should use the £97.1m Building Safety Fund allocated in the UK Budget last March to replace dangerous cladding on affected buildings and introduce fire alarm and sprinkler systems.
For more information on buying or selling a property in your area call Purdie & Co on 0131 346 7240 or visit www.purdiesolicitors.co.uk