Supply issues in capital

Buyers and sellers put new conditions on home deals

Scottish rent and homes for sale

Edinburgh’s market is suffering a supply issue (pic: Terry Murden)

More home buyers and sellers are imposing conditions on each other to ensure a deal goes through, according to a Scottish law firm.

A significant rise in the number of transactions in the Edinburgh property market now have a ‘subject to sale’ condition – where a buyer only goes ahead with the purchase if they sell their own property.

This trend is most common among families and downsizers and is symptomatic of the squeeze on available properties.

Lawyers at Lindsays believe it will evolve into a ‘subject to purchase’ clause where the seller turns the tables on the buyer and only agrees a deal once they have found a new property.

Lindsays is now investigating with its clients whether a new ‘subject to purchase’ condition could free up more properties for sale.

Andrew Diamond, partner and head of residential property at Lindsays, said: “The ‘subject to sale’ trend is continuing in Edinburgh because of market uncertainty over supply.

“Owners are wary of selling their current property because they are nervous about being unable to buy a suitable replacement property from the limited options available.

“It’s a vicious circle which is gumming up the market, particularly for second and third time buyers, and it is likely that the market will react to this one way or another.

“We see the possibility of a new clause entering our lexicon – a sale ‘subject to purchase’. This would be a case of a seller – most obviously a downsizer or a family – listing their property and securing a sale conditional on them making a successful purchase.

“In other words, the same groups of people who are placing ‘subject to sale’ conditions on a purchase could turn this dynamic on its head and expand the supply of available properties by listing their property ‘subject to purchase’.

“This could develop into a major trend in Edinburgh in 2020.”

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